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Capital Beat: Shaheen getting ready to rev up fundraising as 2014 approaches

  • ; Thursday, September 13, 2012.<br/><br/>( Alexander Cohn/ Monitor staff)<br/><br/>

Jeanne Shaheen is running for a second term in the U.S. Senate. But with less than a half-million dollars in the bank, she first needs to rev up her fundraising.

Her campaign doesn’t sound too worried on that front.

“When she ran in ’08, she raised $8½ million in a year,” said longtime aide Judy Reardon. “And so we’re confident that we will be able to raise the money we need to fund a great campaign.”

Shaheen, a Democrat and former three-term governor, won her Senate seat in 2008 and is up for re-election in 2014.

“She’s definitely planning on running,” Reardon said Friday.

Early polls show Shaheen in good shape. A Public Policy Polling survey taken Nov. 3-4, with a 2.5 percent margin of error, found Shaheen leading a generic Republican by 10 points, 49 percent to 39 percent. A later PPP poll, taken Nov. 14-15 for the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, had her ahead of former senator John E. Sununu, 53 percent to 42 percent, with a 3.1 percent margin of error. PPP is a Democratic firm.

But she’s not exactly sitting on a big war chest. The Friends of Jeanne Shaheen committee had about $338,000 on hand at the end of September, according to its latest Federal Election Commission report.

That’s not a lot for a U.S. Senate race. The Friends of Kelly Ayotte, for example, is sitting on $671,000, even though she’s not up for re-election until 2016. Maine Republican Susan Collins is up in 2014 and has $823,000 on hand.

“She has not wanted, during her first four years in the Senate, to be putting in a lot of time into fundraising, and really wanted to concentrate on her Senate work,” Reardon said. “And I think that make sense.”

That could change soon. Shaheen’s re-election campaign, Reardon said, is in “the very preliminary stages of gearing up. There’s one full time staffer for the Friends of Jeanne Shaheen

committee, as there has been for quite a while, and then there are national fundraising consultants who are on board.”

So, who runs against Shaheen? No one’s raised their hand yet, but that hasn’t stopped speculation.

The obvious candidate is Sununu. He beat her for the seat in 2002, then lost it to her in 2008. He’s in the private sector now, but has kept up his profile writing op-eds for The Boston Globe. (His dad, former governor John H. Sununu, was even more prominent this past year as an occasionally off-message surrogate for Mitt Romney.)

We couldn’t reach John E. Sununu Friday, and he hasn’t given any public signals yet. But his old campaign committee, Team Sununu, is still active, and reported having $32,000 on hand at the end of September.

There are plenty of other Republicans who might run, including a few left without jobs after the Nov. 6 election. A lot can change in a couple of years – after all, in December 2010, Maggie Hassan had just lost her state Senate seat, and now she’s the governor-elect.

One possible candidate: U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta, the Manchester Republican who just lost his seat to Rochester Democrat Carol Shea-Porter.

“My name comes up for Senate, House and governor,” Guinta told Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, last week. “Obviously, it’s nice to be thought of in that way. Quite frankly, at this point, it’s something that I will focus on sometime next year.”

Bipartisan sculpture

Republican National Committeeman Steve Duprey says he wouldn’t mind erecting a life-size bronze statue of President Obama on Concord’s Main Street.

Some context is warranted: Duprey, a longtime GOP strategist and 2008 aide to Republican presidential nominee John McCain, has been chairing a city advisory committee looking at a redesign of Concord’s downtown. And as committee members have been spitballing about ways to spruce up Main Street, Duprey has seized on the idea of statues of U.S. presidents.

As he described it last week during a Monitor editorial board: The city could make room for “a life-size bronze statue of everybody who’s been elected president who’s campaigned on Main Street. I mean literally almost every president of the United States has been on the Main Street. I can just tell you, that if you have the last four winners of the primary, and there’s a statue in bronze of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, in 2016 every single candidate is going to stand and have their picture taken next to them because they all see themselves there.”

When Monitor editors giggled at the idea, Duprey added, “But seriously, we have a junkie draw on that.”

And who says bipartisanship is dead?

Inaugural swank

Hassan is getting a grand total of two inaugural balls when she takes office next month.

Hassan will take the oath of office Jan. 3 at the State House, replacing Gov. John Lynch as the popular Hopkinton Democrat departs after eight years in office.

Which, of course, means it’s time for the capital class to party like it’s 2005.

Hassan’s first ball will be held Jan. 4 at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester. A North Country Ball will be held Jan. 12 at the historic Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods.

Planning seems well under way. Hassan’s old campaign manager, Matt Burgess, is the inaugural committee director, with J.P. Boyle as deputy director and Liz Purdy as senior adviser. And the committee has a total of four co-chairs: Alan Reische of Manchester, Anna Grace Holloway of Rye, Fred Seigel of North Hampton and Tom Raffio of Bow.

Buchanan’s brigade

The stars were out in Concord on Thursday night for the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communication’s First Amendment Award ceremony.

Of course, most of those stars were Republican ones – no surprise, given the keynote speaker was Pat Buchanan. (Last year’s speaker was Vice President Joe Biden, who, we’re told, drew a somewhat different crowd.)

Among many others, we spotted former gubernatorial candidate Ovide Lamontagne, would-be state GOP chairwoman Jennifer Horn and a pack of College Republicans led by Chairman (and ex-Jon Huntsman intern) Jake Wagner.

But it wasn’t a strictly one-party party at the Capitol Center for the Arts: Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, Manchester Democrat, showed up. And the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire made a strong showing – after all, their president, David Lang, was getting the award.

The straight ticket

Should New Hampshire bring back the straight-party ticket? Rep. Jeanine Notter thinks so.

Notter, a Merrimack Republican, has filed a legislative service request for legislation next year to allow straight-ticket voting, which New Hampshire abandoned in 2007.

Fifteen states offer straight-ticket voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. A half-dozen states have abandoned the option in the last two decades, according to the group.

Mazel tovs

∎ Former Romney and Lamontagne strategist Jim Merrill and Kristy Roney, the state Senate’s policy director, are getting married. They announced their engagement on Thanksgiving (and he followed the next day on Twitter).

∎ Jackie Cilley, former Democratic candidate for governor, has a new gig: district director for Shea-Porter. Olga Clough, who was Shea-Porter’s constituent services director during her first two terms in the House, is back in the job. Clough used to work for Republican Rep. Jeb Bradley and GOP Sen. Bob Smith.

∎ Ava Jean Bettencourt was born Nov. 19, seven pounds flat.

She’s the daughter of ex-House majority leader D.J. Bettencourt and soon-to-be-ex-House Information Officer Shannon Bettencourt.

(D.J., who resigned in May amid a law-school cheating scandal, emerged Friday to thank supporters and express regret with a blog post on the Salem Patch website. “My first priority will always focus on being a good husband and father. In addition to these personal joys and my professional endeavors, I will begin a journey of dedicated public service and volunteerism to fully account for my mistake and channel my disappointment in a positive way that continues serving New Hampshire,” he wrote.)

Quote of the Week

“I believe I would’ve made a brilliant state representative and I believe that my ideas were great . . . but given the climate of how this has taken on a life of its own, if it’s found that I am legally eligible to serve, I don’t believe over the next two years I could get anything done.”

That’s Stacie Laughton, the Nashua Democrat who resigned Thursday as a state representative-elect after news reports revealed her felony convictions and possible ineligibility to serve. Laughton, who would have been the state’s first openly transgender representative, signed her resignation letter on Nashua Democratic Rep. Ken Gidge’s cable-access show, Gidge’s World.

The Telegraph of Nashua points out that back in 2001, Gidge hosted another controversial state representative as they signed a resignation letter: Nashua Republican Tom Alciere, who had advocated the killing of police officers.

How far he falls

On Wednesday, the new House and Senate will convene to – barring any last-minute surprises – elect Terie Norelli as House speaker, Gene Chandler as House minority leader, Peter Bragdon as Senate president and Sylvia Larsen as Senate minority leader.

And Bill O’Brien? With the new Democratic majority, he’s fallen a long way from the speaker’s chair.

For Organization Day, he’s been assigned to seat 98, in Division 4. That puts him way in the back of Representatives Hall, next to Concord Democrat Katherine Rogers (seat 99).

(Reporter Laura McCrystal contributed to this column. Ben Leubsdorf can be reached at 369-3307 or bleubsdorf@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @BenLeubsdorf. Annmarie Timmins can be reached at 369-3323 or atimmins@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @annmarietimmins.)

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