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Mike Pence to speak at NO B.S. BBQ in Rye

Mike Pence to speak at NO B.S. BBQ in Rye hosted by Ambassador Scott and Gail Brown

September 4th

5:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Churchill’s on Rye
261 Central Road
Rye, NH  03870

Doug Burgum to speak at NO B.S. BBQ in Rye

Doug Burgum to speak at NO B.S. BBQ in Rye hosted by Ambassador Scott and Gail Brown

August 25th

6:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Churchill’s on Rye
261 Central Road
Rye, NH  03870

Warren’s Sexism Claim A Tough Sell in New Hampshire

Is sexism responsible for Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s recent slide in the polls? Will her gender-war dust-up with Sen. Bernie Sanders turn around her struggling campaign?

The early polling is unclear. But of all the states where Warren can complain of sexism, the very worst may be New Hampshire.

In 2016, the same night Hillary Clinton won the state’s four Electoral College votes, New Hampshire’s woman governor was elected to the U.S. Senate, giving the state an all-female congressional delegation. There are only two U.S. senators in purple states with an approval rating above 50 percent in the latest Morning Consult poll. Both are women — and both are in New Hampshire.

So when Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) says sexism facing women candidates like herself “is so bad,” it’s hard to reconcile with the record of New Hampshire primary voters.

Complaints about unfair treatment of women candidates is nothing new. In 2016, Hillary Clinton’s campaign communications director Jennifer Palmieri said explicitly that “misogyny and sexism were a problem on the campaign trail.” Across the aisle, supporters of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin pointed out egregiously sexist attacks coming from left-leaning outlets.

Also not new: Studies showing that women candidates succeed or fail at about the same rate as men. It’s true that women are less likely to run — a fact that is evidence itself of sexism, some say — but when they run, they’re just as likely to win as their male counterparts. In 2018, they were more likely.

These facts haven’t stopped the surge of statements, news stories and analysis suggesting that America in general — and Democratic primary voters in particular — are uncomfortable voting for women.

“We have a deeply misogynistic country,” 2020 Democrat Andrew Yang said at a recent Concord, N.H. campaign stop. “I would one hundred percent agree with anyone who thinks the deck is stacked against female candidates because, of course, it is.”

But is that what’s keeping Warren and Klobuchar out of the top of the early-state polls? Particularly an early state like New Hampshire, with three women and an openly-gay man representing them in Congress?

“Keep in mind that the majority of Democratic primary voters in every state, including New Hampshire, are women. They tend to make up 55 to 60 percent of the electorate,” Emerson College Director of Polling Spencer Kimball told InsideSources. In the new Emerson poll of Granite State Democrats released Thursday, Sen. Bernie Sanders and former mayor Pete Buttigieg are on top at 23 and 18 percent respectively, while Warren’s numbers continue to slide.

A year ago, Warren was at 25 percent in the Emerson poll, and last September she was at 21 percent. But since November she’s been stuck at 14 percent, even as her top competitors have been on the rise. Interestingly, it was Amy Klobuchar who got the biggest bump, from 2 percent in the September Emerson poll to 10 percent — and right on Warren’s heels — today.

Sexism at work?

The case that primary voters are reluctant to back women is also undermined by Warren’s own performance. Throughout 2018, Warren was a frontrunner in both New Hampshire and nationwide. At one point, nearly 30 percent of Democrats were backing her, more than any other candidate. Since then, her support as fallen by half, most of which is attributed, not to misogyny, but to her mishandling of the Medicare For All issue.

That may explain why Warren is both in fourth place overall in New Hampshire and in third place behind Sanders and Buttigieg among women voters.

Still, few people argue that sexism is non-existent.

Kimball says that women candidates do face a somewhat steeper campaign climb, and he says that based on the polling data, the problem is — their fellow women. “Women voters hold female candidates to a different standard,” Kimball said. “Senator Klobuchar is actually getting more support from men than from women.”

“I do think some biases do exist among some people,” New Hampshire Democratic National Committeewoman and former state party chair Kathy Sullivan told InsideSources. “Look at Warren: right after she announced, I had a reporter from a national paper call and ask me if ‘likeability’ would be a problem — a question I never ever hear about male candidates. And Amy Klobuchar — there was the story that she was tough on her staff that got a lot of coverage early on. A similar story was written about Bernie Sanders four years ago by a Vermont media outlet,  and no other media outlets seem to have run with it.”

Jennifer Horn, a former GOP state party chair who ran for Congress in New Hampshire, told InsideSources that sexism is real, though she says it’s not a significant force. Instead, she believes the way women candidates handle sexism is far more important.

“Yes, it was harder to run for office as a woman than a man. But you just have to face it and overcome it,” Horn said. “When we buy into it, or when we complain about it to save our campaigns, it just makes us look weak.

“And this is really a problem for Warren because she already struggles with the authenticity issue. That’s a much bigger problem for her campaign that what Bernie Sanders might have said at dinner.”

Outgoing NHGOP Chair: Don’t End Policy of Party Neutrality in 2020 Primary

Outgoing New Hampshire GOP Chairman Wayne MacDonald tells NHJournal he has “major concerns” over ending the policy of party neutrality in the 2020 POTUS primary and supporting incumbent President Donald Trump.

“Anyone should be able to run for the nomination. Donald Trump is the president, and his record should be considered. But until our nominee is chosen by a vote of the people, the party leadership needs to be neutral,” MacDonald told NHJournal.

Not everyone agrees. Bruce Breton, who was very active in Trump’s 2016 campaign in New Hampshire, finds the party’s policy of neutrality “deeply flawed.”  He has abandoned his bid for NHGOP Vice Chair in part because running for the office “would be contrary to my continued support of President Trump. As per our bylaws I would have to remain neutral in the upcoming 2020 campaign. It is my strong belief that those bylaws should be changed to reflect that the NHGOP would support an incumbent president.”

But MacDonald was adamant. “I understand the logic of wanting to support an incumbent president in your own party. But the nomination is something that is bestowed upon them by the voters,” MacDonald said, adding that the candidates and offices are irrelevant.

“This has nothing to do with Trump. We were neutral in 1992 when George H. W. Bush was president [and challenged by Pat Buchanan].  And it’s not just the presidency. Governor, senator, what have you—the party needs to remain neutral.”

MacDonald has served as state party chair three times, always as an appointee and never as an elected candidate. On Tuesday, he announced he won’t be running to keep the job.

“I’ve always enjoyed it, but it’s never been easy. People don’t leave the job when things are going well,” he noted wryly. “It’s an intense and exhausting experience.”

When news broke of MacDonald’s decision, Gov. Chris Sununu released a statement offering “sincere thanks to Chairman MacDonald for his steady leadership over these past few months. He had to step up to take on a tough challenge, served admirably, and I sincerely hope Wayne stays involved in the years ahead — the Republican Party is better off with Wayne MacDonald at the table.”

MacDonald told NHJournal he agreed with those who say the job should be a paid, full-time position for the GOP as it is for the New Hampshire Democratic party, adding: “I’m Scottish, so if they had offered to pay me, I wouldn’t have said ‘no.’”

“One big advantage Democrats have had is continuity. They’ve been able to build on their experiences from one cycle to the next. We’ve had very few chairmen serve back-to-back terms.”

MacDonald is right. Former NHGOP chair Fergus Cullen tweeted out the list of state party chairs since 2000. There have been eleven already, and only one—Jennifer Horn—served two consecutive terms.  “During this time, NHDems have had just two. They stuck with Kathy Sullivan and Ray Buckley not only after wins but after losses too,” Cullen tweeted.

MacDonald declined to endorse anyone to replace him, but he did share his biggest concern for the next chairman: “Fundraising.  That’s got to be the number one job.”

“And I don’t have a problem with going to Washington, DC for funding, as the Democrats do, that’s fine. The problem is that there isn’t this pile of money waiting for us in Washington to just scoop up and take back to New Hampshire. We’re going to have to compete for money there too,” MacDonald said.

He pointed out the example of former party chairman John H. Sununu. “He really was in a class by himself when it comes to state chairmen. He had been governor, he had all the contacts, and he raised a lot of money for the party.  But even he didn’t meet the $1 million fundraising goal he set for himself.”

“No matter who becomes the next chairman, fundraising is always hard.”

Pelosi Picks Up A Vote In NH-01, Brings Her Total To….One

Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has ended her drought in New Hampshire’s First Congressional District. As reported here at NHJournal, for weeks not a single one of the eleven (count ’em, 11!) Democratic candidates in the primary would commit on the record to supporting Pelosi for Speaker of the House.

Not anymore! Thursday night at a candidate event hosted by the Hampton, NH Democrats, one of the candidates came out of the Pelosi closet.  Meet N.H. State Representative and candidate for Congress, Mark MacKenzie, who issued this statement to NHJournal:

Nancy Pelosi has served with distinction in the United State Congress for over 30 years. She was the first woman in US history to be elected as the Speaker. She has supported countless Democrats in this country helping them get elected.  The role Representative Pelosi will play in the future will be decided by the new Congress. Nancy Pelosi deserves the respect of this nation for her faithful service to this country.  My focus is on getting elected to represent the first CD and this is where my attention is focused.

So there you go, Ms. Former Speaker–you’ve got a supporter!  Interestingly, none of the three women running in the Democratic primary have endorsed Pelosi for Speaker. One of them, Rep. Mindi Messmer, has said explicitly that it’s time for Democrats to make a change.

Watch for yourself courtesy of the twitter feed of intrepid NH political reporter Paul Steinhauser:




Bill Kristol on Trump, 2020, and the Democrat Republicans Should Fear Most

The “Politics and Eggs” breakfast at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics is one of the compulsory events in Granite State politics for anyone considering a presidential run.  Conservative journalist and national leader of the #NeverTrump movement, Bill Kristol, will be making an appearance–and firing up the 2020 rumor mill–on Wednesday, May 23rd.

NHJournal’s Michael Graham caught up with Kristol at one of his Harvard Yard haunts on the eve of his speech for a quick Q&A:

MG: My first question for you is this: Is Bill Kristol coming to “Politics and Eggs” to formally announce his candidacy in the 2020 presidential race?

BK:  It’s tempting, it’s tempting. But then I’d be laughed out of New Hampshire and I’d be slipping back across the border to Massachusetts in about 12 minutes. So I think I won’t do that.

I’m just talking about my analysis of the political situation. It’s always great to be in New Hampshire because people here are so interested in national politics, and they follow it much more closely than almost any other state because they’re so conscious of their “First in the Nation” primary. And I do think the fact that independents can vote in either primary–and so many New Hampshire voters are independents–means they tend to follow both parties. In some states the Republicans follow Republican stories, and the Democrats have the Democratic stories. In New Hampshire, everyone follows everything.

MG: Which potential 2020 candidate best matches the mood of the Democratic electorate?

BK:  I think there are several moods going at once, which is why it’s complicated. There’s obviously a ‘We hate, loathe and despise Trump and we will reward the person who hates, loathes and despises him the most’ [mood].  There’s also a ‘Look, we’ve got a win’ [mood], with Democrats saying ‘We cannot afford to lose to this guy and, incidentally, we lost because we were out of touch with parts of middle America. Some of those concerns were legitimate, and some of those concerns are traditional Democratic concerns–stagnant wages and stuff like that–and so we need somebody who can speak to them.’

That leads you in two pretty different directions.

The conventional wisdom among Republicans in Washington is the Left has all the energy. Everything’s going Left. The empirical evidence so far in the primaries is a little mixed, I would say. Some moderates have won primaries. Some Lefties have won some primaries, and some have just been extremely close like the Nebraska [NE-2] primary. So I’m sort of open-minded about that debate on the Democratic side.

MG: What about Republicans?  Trump’s approval is back in the upper 80s, approaching 90 percent among Republicans. Of those Republicans who are dissatisfied–maybe they’re reluctant Trump supporters, whatever. Are they angry at Trump, or do the just want their party to go in a different direction?

BK:  I think Trump supporters–let’s just say it’s 80, 85 percent of the Republicans–are split into two categories: Half of them, some 40 percent of the Republican Party, are Trump loyalists. They believe in him. They are proud to have voted for Him. They hate his enemies and they like the fact that he’s shaking things up.  But about half of Trump supporters are reluctant Trump supporters. They voted for someone else in the primary–Bush or Cruz or Rubio.  They mostly voted for Trump in the general election because of Hillary and judges and so forth.

They support some of the things Trump has done, but they’re not Trump loyalists and I think they’re open to the following argument, one which you can’t really make now, you have to make it the day after the midterms:

It goes like this: ‘You voted for Trump. We’re not gonna criticize that. You support a lot of things he does. You think a lot of the criticisms of him are unfair. We’re not going to quarrel with that.  But–do you really want to do this for another four years?

It’s a little crazy. It’s a little chaotic. He comes with some downside risks. In foreign policy and and other things, maybe you could just like pocket the gains and get a more normal, so to speak,  Republican or Conservative.’

I think that message would have–could have– more appeal after Election Day this year. Right now it sounds like, ‘Well, you’re just anti-Trump. We’ve got to rally to Trump, we’ve got to defeat the Democrats.’  But I think November 7th [the day after the midterms], everything changes.  Because the question becomes not a retrospective question of were you right to vote for trump or his critics, or ‘what about Hillary?’ It becomes a prospective question. What do you want going forward?

MG: Last question: The Democratic ticket that you think Republicans should be the most afraid of in 2020?

BK: That’s a good question. These things are actually harder to predict.  I’m inclined to give the conventional answer, which I think is right, which is the more moderate the candidate Democrats nominate, the easier it is to win back some Republican voters and independents.  I guess I have the kind of conventional view that that’s the most dangerous thing for the Republicans.

But you know, sometimes history fools you.  Everyone thought Reagan would be easier to defeat than a more moderate Republican.  Take Elizabeth Warren. [Republicans think] That’d be great. We can demonize her. She’s scary. She’s left wing.

Well, I don’t know.  Maybe she could run a campaign that was pretty intelligent and get the best of both worlds: The Hillary Clinton appeal, first woman president; And some of the Sanders energy. Look, she’s a Harvard law professor. She’s not crazy.

It could be like Obama. [Independent voters saying] ‘She’s a little more liberal that I like, but she comes from modest origins.’ So I think [my fellow conservatives] may underrate Warren a little bit.

2020 Presidential Rumors Abound With John Kasich Back in NH

The flurry of activity in the Granite State this week has some calling it the start of the 2020 New Hampshire primary. Former Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley held some meet-and-greets and a town hall meeting on Sunday, and former Vice President Joe Biden is headlining the state Democratic Party’s fundraising dinner on April 30. Smack dab in the middle of the two Democrats is Republican Gov. John Kasich, who visited the state on Thursday to promote his new book.

It felt like a reunion of sorts for Kasich, his team, and over 200 supporters who came to hear him speak at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College. In a small gathering before his speech, he thanked key allies for their help during the 2016 Republican presidential primary. Even though Kasich was in the state in August to campaign for Gov. Chris Sununu in his gubernatorial bid, it’s his first foray back to New Hampshire since Trump won the White House.

Of course, there was an elephant in the room (and not just because the room was chock full of Republicans): is Kasich going to run for president again in 2020? Those waiting with bated breath will have to wait a bit longer.

“People ask why I am back,” Kasich said. “I am back to sell books.”

His new book, “Two Paths: America Divided or United,” came out on Tuesday and one of his first stops in his book tour was New Hampshire, so it’s easy to see where the 2020 speculation comes from.

He mostly talked about his 2016 campaign and national politics, with some advice to his followers who are unhappy with President Donald Trump.

“In course of running for president, something happened to me that never happened before,” he said. “I was, like, so boring, you know, and boring didn’t cut it.”

Kasich finished second in last year’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary, far behind Trump (35 percent to 16 percent). Yet, Kasich spent more time in the state than any other candidate, holding more than 100 town halls during the primary.

He took note of Trump not following through on some of his campaign promises, like ripping up the Iran nuclear deal and deporting “13 million Muslims out of the country.”

“You notice all that promise? It’s all been taken back,” he said.

John Kasich

Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College to promote his new book, “Two Paths: America United or Divided” on Thursday, April 27, 2017. (Photo Credit: John Kasich Facebook page)

He also encouraged unity, bemoaning the wide political divide in the United States.

“We all ought to spend about 10 minutes a day reading something we don’t agree with. All of us are absorbing only that that we agree with and getting rid of those things that we don’t agree with,” Kasich said. “Over time, I think things are going to settle down and people are going to realize that the difficulties that we face cannot be solved without unity. Difficulties cannot be solved unless we have deliberate and steady solutions to the problem.”

Out of the three “potential candidates” visiting New Hampshire this week, Kasich is probably getting asked the most if he is going to run again in 2020.

“He hasn’t been president for 100 days, yet,” Kasich told reporters. “I mean, everybody needs to take a deep breath. We’ll see how it runs out. He’s the president. Give him a chance. We’ll see how it goes.”

Why is he getting the question more? Well, it’s good political theatre. If there’s still #NeverTrump sentiment in a few years, Kasich is a good person they can rally behind, since he’s one of the few 2016 Republican presidential candidates who did not endorse Trump after he secured the party’s nomination.

That’s not to say O’Malley and Biden aren’t getting asked (both of whom have also skirted the question). The 2020 Democratic primary should be an exciting one, with 20 or so candidates expected to enter the race, but political pundits and the media love the idea of an incumbent president getting a primary challenger.

Challenges to White House incumbents aren’t as rare as people think. Five of the six presidents who served between 1968 and 1992 faced insurrections. When they do — like Ronald Reagan’s challenge of Gerald Ford in 1976, Ted Kennedy’s race against Jimmy Carter in 1980, and Pat Buchanan’s bid to unseat George H.W. Bush in 1992 — it’s usually because they were viewed as unsuccessful or unpopular, especially within their party’s base.

It’s very possible that Trump’s base could leave him in the next three years, but after his first 100 days in office, it appears they are still with him.

A University of Virginia Center for Politics poll of Trump voters released Thursday shows his approval rating at 93 percent with his base.

The most recent poll in New Hampshire shows that a majority of Republicans approve of the president, although not as high as the national average. About 80 percent of New Hampshire Republicans approve of the job Trump is doing as president, according to a University of New Hampshire Survey Center poll from February.

Those percentages would need to decrease for anyone to seriously consider mounting a GOP primary challenge. What does this mean for Kasich? It looks like he’s playing the “sitting-and-waiting game.” If the opportunity presents itself, don’t be surprised to see him be one of the first Republicans to declare their candidacy. For now, he told NH1 News that he will “see how things develop in the future.”

Kasich is still popular in the Granite State, and he said he had a feeling he would return often because he has many friends here, so he could become a regular face in these parts over the next three years.

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