Other than the Governor’s race, there should be competitive House races and a competitive Senate race…maybe. In the Governor’s race- which is held every two years like its neighbor Vermont- Maggie Hassan will be the Democratic candidate. On the Republican side, there are four candidates in the primary: Daniel Greene, businessman Walt Havenstein, former Gingrich campaign manager Andrew Hemingway and pot legalization advocate Jonathan Smolin. Despite the talk of Havenstein’s eligibility to run, he would likely have the inside track.
There is this trend in politics today for businessmen to claim they are the best for the job because they are a businessman. They know what has to be done to create jobs. I reject that notion. For Havenstein what may have happened at BAE or SAIC is one thing, but being the top executive of a state is another. To start with, your “board of directors-” the legislature- is your opposition. Forget the one-trick pony campaign of Smolin. For my money, the smart choice would be Andrew Hemingway who proposes a flat 2% tax on businesses- including governments and non-profits- in New Hampshire. That is a bold, radical idea and maybe one whose time has come. Therefore, I would go with Andrew Hemingway. Plus, he is only 32 years old.
Both congressional seat races currently held by Democrats have the potential to be tipped to the GOP column, but the most likely chance is in the 1st District held by Carol Shea-Porter. Four Republicans are in the primary: Frank Guinta, Dan Innis, Everett Jabour and Brendan Kelly. Guinta is well-known having defeated Shea-Porter in 2010 only to lose to her again in 2012 by three points with Obama at the top of the ticket. Given that history, Guinta would seem like the smartest choice here. But, let’s give the others their due.
Dan Innis is former dean of the University of New Hampshire business school and hopes to become perhaps the first openly gay Republican elected to Congress. His campaign platform is based, however, on fiscal issues which sounds good until he starts talking about infrastructure and increased funding for schools with little talk about pork and choice. Jabour and Kelly are just not that well known in New Hampshire politics, let alone this district. Plus Kelly is former state chair of the Libertarian Party.
All in all, I would go with Frank Guinta in this race.
In the 2nd District, it will be more difficult to unseat Democrat Anne Kuster whose approval rating has risen of late and the 2nd slightly favors the Democratic Party more. Still, four Republicans will fight it out in the primary: state rep. Marilinda Garcia, ex-state senator Gary Lambert, ex-state rep. Jim Lawrence, and Mike Little. Lambert would be the choice of the establishment wing of the GOP while Garcia has received the endorsement of the Club for Growth. In polling thus far, Garcia leads Lambert while in hypothetical general election polling, Garcia is closer to Kuster than Lambert.
After reading her website and her agenda and position on the issues, this writer feels that Marilinda Garcia would be the best candidate to take on Kuster in November.
Now for the Senate race where Scott Brown was “forced” into the GOP field by the powers that be. As stated before, Brown’s victory in Massachusetts for the Senate was an “in the right place at the right time under the right conditions” type of victory. And in all honesty, he may be the most electable Republican here. At one time, incumbent Jeanne Shaheen was on the ropes, but she has come alive, probably in response to the Brown candidacy.
Looking at the other candidates- and there are several- from my standpoint, one can see why. Artist Robert D’Arcy has an agenda suspiciously akin to that of a Ron Paul. But like a lot of candidates, we know you would repeal Obamacare, but it would be replaced with what? Again, no answer here. Miro Dziedzic tells us what he would replace Obamacare with and is rather specific. But then he ruins it by going on a rant about campaign finance and sounds not like Ron Paul, but Harry Reid. Ex-state senator Jim Rubens has received the backing of the May Day Super PAC- a group, ironically, dedicated to eliminating big money in campaigns. Hence, Rubens falls under the same category as Dziedzic. Rubens is described as an anti-gambling, campaign reform advocating environmentalist candidate that happens to be a fiscal hawk. I can find precious little on frequent candidate Andy Martin but the fact he is a frequent candidate should say it all.
Then there is former Lebanon mayor Mark Farnham- again not too much information on him and ditto for Bob Heghman and Walter Kelly. Gerald Beloin is the obligatory Tea Party activist in the race. His previous political experience was coming in dead last in a field of five in the 2012 2nd District Republican primary. Incidentally, Dziedzic came in fourth in that primary. However, at least he states his positions and his proposed solutions which sound reasonable and conservative. His analysis of education spending is unique.
Then there is former New Hampshire senator Bob Smith who is coming out of retirement in Florida to enter the primary. As a Senator, Smith often grated on the nerves of fellow Republicans and at one time left the party to join the Taxpayers Party. He lost his Senate seat to John Sununu. He is proving to be just as troublesome this time out to the GOP powers. Although they support a Brown candidacy and have pumped money into the race, Smith continues to win straw polls. He is clearly cashing in on his stances on social issues like abortion and gun rights. Unfortunately, it is not turning into monetary donations. Smith would be an intriguing choice as besides the normal rhetoric, his website actually lays out solutions.
And while Brown is trying to focus on Shaheen, Smith and others are focusing on Brown and trying to portray him as a liberal Massachusetts politician based on his votes while a Senator there. In this regard, Smith is proving to be the thorn in the side of the GOP that he was in his previous tenure with the party.
At the end, reality must dictate who would be the best candidate to run against Shaheen in the fall. Her standing has improved since February of this year. Both Smith and Brown have name recognition. Brown has the backing of the GOP establishment- people like Mitt Romney, John Sununu and Jeb Bradley. Smith and Rubens seem to have the backing of the grassroots. This creates an interesting dilemma and one that is largely under the radar in the mainstream media as all attention has been focused on a Brown-Shaheen match up in November. Hypothetical polling puts Shaeen up anywhere from 6 to 12 points over Brown at this point with Shaheen occasionally breaking the 50% barrier. The gap against Smith is 11-23 points depending on the source.
In the final analysis, I believe that Shaheen is in a better position to win than some of her vulnerable Democratic incumbent counterparts elsewhere. While Brown may present the best choice from an electability standpoint, Smith is the better choice ideologically. Between the two, we also have a stark contrast in age. The fact that Brown has focused his primary campaign on Shaheen and made little headway in polling indicates he will lose in November. Smith has been attacking Brown and Shaheen. In addition to coming out of retirement before Brown entered the race, it may indicate that Smith is more motivated than Brown. Going on a limb here and fully aware he is not likely to win, this writer is supporting Bob Smith in the Senatorial GOP primary in New Hampshire.
This thus closes this series on the Republican primaries. With this last set of primaries, the fields will be set for November. Beginning in early October and leading up to Election Day, a detailed analysis of general election races in all states will begin. I look forward to comments and insights from Redstate community members in every state. Major offices- governor, US Senate, and US House- races will be discussed along with some interesting ballot questions in some states. The October series will not be “endorsements” but analysis and prediction of outcomes and if the grand prize- the Senate- will flip to the Republican side.