On the trail: Potential 2020 contender Sen. Sherrod Brown dialing top N.H. Democrats

  • Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, left, and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, speak to reporters after a meeting with General Motors CEO Mary Barra to discuss GM's announcement it would stop making the Chevy Cruze at its Lordstown, Ohio, plant, part of a massive restructuring for the Detroit-based automaker, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) J. Scott Applewhite

For the Monitor
Published: 12/27/2018 4:46:20 PM

Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio hasn’t visited New Hampshire since 2014, but he’s been reaching out to some top Granite State Democrats in recent weeks as he seriously considers a 2020 run for the White House.

Brown, who last month was re-elected to a third term representing the Buckeye State in the U.S. Senate, has raised his national profile since the midterms with a bunch of interviews in well-read publications including the New York Times, the Washington Post and the New Yorker.

But just as important, he’s dialing leading Democratic lawmakers and rainmakers in the early voting states in the presidential primary and caucus calendar.

Among those receiving calls in the Granite State – former governor and current Sen. Maggie Hassan, veteran Democratic National Committee member and former state party chairwoman Kathy Sullivan, longtime New Hampshire Democratic Party chairman Ray Buckley and New Hampshire Young Democrats president Lucas Meyer.

“I think he speaks to issues that Democrats are interested in with respect to working people, wage disparity, economic inequality,” Sullivan told the Monitor.

She added that Brown’s victory last month in Ohio – a crucial presidential general election battleground state that President Donald Trump won by 8 percentage points over Hillary Clinton in 2016 – “makes him interesting.”

Meyer said that the progressive senator “has built his career and reputation on bringing a working-class ethos back into politics and that’s something Granite State voters can admire.”

He added that if Brown “decides to jump in, he has a lot of credentials from his time in public service that young voters will be attracted to, especially when it comes to building a new economy for our generation.”

Brown’s also been reaching out and inquiring about potential campaign staff in New Hampshire, another sign that he may be gearing up for a White House run.

While phone conversations are important, Sullivan emphasized that she told Brown “if you’re interested in running, you’ve got to come up to New Hampshire.”

She added that’s “the same advice I give to anybody I talk to,” who’s considering a presidential bid.

A political adviser close to Brown told the Monitor that as of now, there are no trips by the senator to New Hampshire that are planned.

Sullivan staying neutral

In the 2008 and 2016 cycles, Sullivan endorsed Hillary Clinton for president in the New Hampshire primary.

But this time around, she says she’s staying neutral.

“I’m on the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee, which I was not in 2016, so it’s a little bit of a different situation,” she said.

Sullivan added that “we’ve got to get through the delegate selection plan approval process at the Rules and Bylaws Committee before I even ever start to think about endorsing anyone. That’s a process that starts in the spring and runs into the summer. If I do endorse, it will be later in the process.”

Former top Ayotte aideto work for Romney

If you need more proof that it’s unlikely that former Republican senator Kelly Ayotte will run for the Senate in New Hampshire in 2020, here it is.

Liz Johnson – one of Ayotte’s most trusted aides and a former top staffer – is going to work for incoming Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah.

Romney – the former Massachusetts governor and 2012 Republican presidential nominee – announced Wednesday that Johnson will serve as his communications director.

Besides serving as Ayotte’s Senate communications director and 2016 re-election campaign spokeswoman, Johnson last year reprised that role as Ayotte shepherded then-Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch around the Senate during his confirmation hearings.

Photo in question

The New Hampshire Republican Party says it didn’t run afoul of strict U.S. Department of Defense rules which – among other restrictions – prevent service members in uniform from taking part in fundraising activities.

An NHGOP fundraising email critical of Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen that was sent Thursday to supporters included a photograph of President Donald Trump in Iraq on Wednesday. The picture shows the president and First Lady Melania Trump taking a selfie with a group of service members in uniform.

New Hampshire Democratic Party chairman Ray Buckley claimed that the NHGOP “flagrantly” broke the law and said he was considering “potential legal action.”

But the NHGOP said the intent of including the photograph was not for the overall fundraising aspect of the email but rather to spotlight the president’s surprise trip to meet with U.S. troops serving in Iraq.

“As stated yesterday, the President thanked our troops in Iraq for their service during the Christmas period. Concurrently, a government shutdown - caused by Jeanne Shaheen’s resistance - is ongoing,” NHGOP executive director Todd Chewing said. “The Department of Defense rules apply to the military personnel who obviously are not engaging in political activity themselves.”




Concord Monitor Office

1 Monitor Drive
Concord,NH 03301
603-224-5301

 

© 2020 Concord Monitor
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy