N.H. conservative activist Karen Testerman may challenge Shaheen for U.S. Senate seat
Conservative activist and former gubernatorial candidate Karen Testerman is exploring a run for the U.S. Senate next year against incumbent Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.
“I’m exploring. I’m looking at whether it’s going to be a possibility,” Testerman said yesterday.
Paperwork was filed Monday with the Federal Election Commission creating the “Friends of Karen Testerman” Senate campaign committee. In an accompanying letter, committee treasurer Jonathon Moseley wrote that Testerman “is not declaring herself as a candidate at this time but will explore the possibility of becoming a candidate and will make a formal decision later.”
Testerman, a Republican from Franklin, said she doesn’t have a timetable for deciding whether to run.
She called Shaheen, a former three-term New Hampshire governor seeking re-election to the Senate next year, “a career politician” who “isn’t creating jobs and a climate where our businesses can grow.”
Testerman isn’t the only Republican testing the waters for 2014. Former state senator Jim Rubens of Etna is exploring a run against Shaheen. And another potential candidate, state Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley of Wolfeboro, hasn’t yet announced whether he will run for the seat.
“If she turns out to be an entrant into the race, that’s an interesting scenario where you’ve got someone from the sort of center-left of the party, Jim Rubens, who for a Republican takes more progressive stances on some issues, and then you’ve got Karen Testerman, who’s pretty far to the right among New Hampshire Republicans,” said Dante Scala, an associate professor of political science at the University of New Hampshire.
Scala also noted of Rubens and Testerman that “neither . . . is especially well-known by voters, including primary voters. Testerman would be known within her circle of social conservatives, but if there’s one thing we’ve learned in primary politics, it’s that that circle is fairly small.”
Testerman and her husband, David, have lived in New Hampshire since 1993, and she’s long been active in state Republican politics. She ran for governor in 2010, finishing third in the GOP primary with 10 percent of the vote.
In 2000 she founded Cornerstone Policy Research, which together with its political arm Cornerstone Action continues to advocate for conservative causes in state politics. Testerman later founded a group called First Principles.
Testerman has described the decline of the “natural family” as a force undermining the U.S. economy and society. She’s pro-life and was a vocal opponent of civil unions for same-sex couples and, later, same-sex marriage; in 2007, she said civil unions “could promote the acceptance of a behavior that is jeopardizing the health of our children.”
Last week, Testerman criticized Shaheen in her Aug. 1 email newsletter, connecting her to recent revelations about widespread electronic surveillance conducted by the National Security Agency. She wrote that the 2001 Patriot Act has been “bastardized” by Shaheen’s fellow Democrat, President Obama, and noted parts of the law expire in 2015.
“Some parts of the Patriot Act are necessary, others sacrifice our freedoms and need to be repealed to stop regimes like the Democrats using it against you,” Testerman wrote. “Can you afford to let Shaheen vote to reauthorize in 2015? No!”
(Ben Leubsdorf can be reached at 369-3307 or
email@example.com or on Twitter @BenLeubsdorf.)