Testerman drops out of U.S. Senate race in N.H.
Republican Karen Testerman is running for governor; Wednesday, August 4, 2010.
Alexander Cohn/Monitor Staff
Former senator Bob Smith sits for a portrait at Newt Gingrich's campaign headquarters in Manchester on Friday, December 9, 2011. Smith is back in New Hampshire to campaign for Newt Gingrich. He's been back for almost two weeks.
(Andrea Morales/ Monitor photo)
In this photo taken on Thursday, June 12, 2104, former Marine Sgt. Colin Archipley is interviewed at his home in Escondido, Calif. For an entire night, Archipley crouched low atop a roof as U.S. artillery slammed insurgent hideouts in the Iraqi city of Fallujah. Lima Company had already taken heavy casualties, and dozens of American soldiers would be killed before the house-by-house battles ended in late 2004. Nearly a decade later, he watched in frustration from his organic farm north of San Diego as an al-Qaida splinter group seized control of Fallujah, Mosul and other Iraq cities that Archipley and his comrades risked so much to protect. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Conservative activist Karen Testerman yesterday left the U.S. Senate race in New Hampshire and threw her support to Bob Smith, who calls himself the only true conservative left in the field.
Testerman made her announcement standing next to Smith as he filed his paperwork to run in the Sept. 9 primary, saying she has watched elections where candidates who fully embrace the principles of the Republican Party divide the conservative vote.
“I simply will not stand by and split a vote any longer,” Testerman said. “We can win this if we unite together behind Bob Smith.”
Smith, a former U.S. senator, called Testerman’s move an act of “tremendous and unprecedented political courage.
“Karen is not dropping out of the race,” he said. “These are two organizations uniting.”
Other contenders in the Republican field include former U.S. senator Scott Brown and former state senator Jim Rubens.
Rubens rejected the notion that he is not conservative enough to capture the primary, noting that he supports balanced budgets, limited government, free market forces and individual liberties, and has been endorsed by the conservative Republican Liberty Caucus. The core of the debate comes down to abortion and gay marriage, both of which are protected under settled law, Rubens said.
“The people of New Hampshire and even many, many pro-life people are not proposing that all abortions be banned,” Rubens said. “While life does begin at conception and there is a real moral burden in terminating a human life at any point, the people of New Hampshire live under one set of laws, and those laws allow abortions early during the term of pregnancy and bar abortions post-viability other than when the mother’s life or health is at risk.”
On gay marriage, Rubens said the Constitution protects people from discrimination because of “inborn characteristics” and that conservatives risk their future if they fail to recognize that.
Smith opposes abortion and gay marriage.
Smith referenced Tuesday’s surprise result in a Virginia House primary where the more conservative candidate, David Brat, knocked off Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
“There’s a breeze blowing out of Virginia,” Smith said. “The breeze is blowing and it’s coming here. It’s coming to New Hampshire.”
The winner of the primary will face Democrat U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who is seeking her second term.
Smith, 72, spent three terms in the U.S. House and two in the Senate before losing the 2002 primary to John E. Sununu, who went on to win the seat. In 1999, Smith ran for president, dropped out of the Republican Party, became an independent, ended his presidential campaign and returned to the GOP. In 2004, Smith endorsed Democrat John Kerry for president and briefly ran for a U.S. Senate seat in Florida.
“We’re going to surprise everybody,” Smith.