Garcia, Lambert square off on finances, climate change in District 2 Republican primary debate

Last modified: 7/31/2014 1:00:53 AM
The three candidates running for the Republican nomination in New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional District race met yesterday for a debate where all three defended their most recent fundraising reports.

State Rep. Marilinda Garcia of Salem used the debate as an opportunity to defend her campaign from claims that she is receiving most of her funding from outside of the district.

Garcia raised more money in the second quarter this year than her opponents, former state senator Gary Lambert of Nashua and former state representative Jim Lawrence of Hudson, but Lambert, who has raised more total funds so far, has repeatedly pointed to her fundraising efforts in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere.

“The fact is, we are running against Ann Kuster, who already has $1.5 million. We need a viable candidate who is able to raise money from beyond our state’s borders,” Garcia said. “This is a national race, this is a very serious race, and we need to be able to show that we can attract that support. To the extent my message is getting out there and people are saying, ‘You’re the one to do it,’ I appreciate that.”

Lawrence defended his lackluster fundraising report, which showed that in the second quarter, he raised $5,000 and loaned his campaign $25,000 of his own money. He declared his candidacy 20 days before the end of the filing period and said yesterday his contributions have increased this quarter.

“It does take money to run a race like this,” he said. “I’m not going to make any claims here. I know I’m not the Washington, D.C., pick in this race. I’m not the Republican establishment pick in this race. But I’m fighting very hard to establish that I am the conservative grass-roots candidate in this race.”

Lambert also defended his vote while in the Legislature against withdrawing the state from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. He has since taken a pledge against federal taxes related to climate change.

“I’m not trying to have it both ways. It is a question of what I’m going to do in Congress, and in Congress I will oppose any national cap-and-trade program,” he said.

Garcia, when asked directly, denied that climate change is man-made.

“Climate change has been occurring for as long as the climate has been around, so I expect it will continue,” she said.

“Now the question is, ought government be involved in such a way as to literally enact policies that increase taxes 
. . . I do not support government taking action on these things in ways that are not tested in the private market and that lead to higher rates in general and also generally lead to cronyism,” she said.

All three candidates said they oppose granting amnesty to children who enter the country illegally, and believe President Obama has overstepped his authority in many ways.

Garcia said she would support efforts to impeach Obama, saying his actions, such as “ignoring the separation of powers, through executive actions, executive privileges 
. . . certainly seem to be completely in violation of his constitutional rights and obligations.”

“If it’s an impeachable offense as the process will show, then every member of Congress is also sworn to uphold that and needs to vote appropriately,” she said.

Lawrence suggested he would support impeachment, too: “President Barack Obama has overstepped his authority and there should be some action taken.”

Lambert disagreed and said he would support a lawsuit against the president for “expanding his authority beyond what the Constitution allows,” but he said an impeachment attempt would be futile.

“We have a Democrat-led Senate and there is no way an impeachment is going to work in that body,” he said.

All three also said they would work to repeal the president’s signature health care law.

“We have to fix the problems Obamacare created before we can go forward,” Lawrence said.

(Sarah Palermo can be reached at 369-3322 or or on Twitter @SPalermoNews.)

This story has been updated to correctly reflect the candidates’ fundraising to date.


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