John DiStaso's Granite Status: Sen Ted Cruz added to 'Freedom Summit' lineup
By JOHN DiSTASO Senior Political Reporter
WEDNESDAY, FEB. 12: CRUZ CONFIRMED FOR SUMMIT. As we first reported Tuesday night, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, is the latest nationally-known conservative Republican who will be featured at the “Freedom Summit” sponsored by Americans for Prosperity Foundation and Citizens United.
The official announcement was made by the two advocacy groups Wednesday morning. The event, already sold out, is slated for April 12 at the Executive Court in Manchester.
Iowa U.S. Rep. Steve King is also expected, but has not yet formally announced. ee our item below.
Greg Moore, state director of Americans for Prosperity-New Hampshire, said Wednesday,
"Adding Senator Cruz to the Freedom Summit reinforces that this is the 'must attend' political event of the year in New Hampshire. On April 12, the center of the political universe will be right here in Manchester. The Americans for Prosperity Foundation and Citizens United are looking for ways to allow more people to participate in the event, given the extraordinary demand that will only be growing over the next few weeks as we add more of the top conservative voices in the country to what is already a phenomenal speakers list."
Meanwhile, 2012 presidential candidate and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has been added to the lineup at the NHGOP's Northeast Republican Leadership Conference March 14 and 15 in Nashua.
(Earlier Granite Status reports follow.)
TUESDAY, FEB. 11: CRUZ, KING CONFIRMED. Americans for Prosperity Foundation is confirming tonight that it has added Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and Iowa U.S. Rep. Steve King to its lineup of high-profile conservative speakers at the "Freedom Summit" it is sponsoring with Citizens United.
The formal announcement is expected on Wednesday.
As we first reported last week, the event will be held April 12 at the Executive Court in Manchester and is sure to attract national media attention.
Cruz is the fourth potential 2016 presidential candidate to agree to appear, along with real estate magnate Donald Trump, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Kentucky U.S. Sen. Rand Paul.
Also scheduled to attend are former House speaker Newt Gingrich, U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and American Enterprise Institute president Arthur Brooks.
Tickets, which were free, were sold out late last week and a waiting list has set up.
(Earlier Granite Status reports follow.)
TUESDAY, FEB. 11; INNIS MESSAGE TESTING. We've received reports that 1st Congressional District voters are being message tested by Republican U.S. House candidate Dan Innis' campaign.
The polling firm, from Texas, says at the end of the calls that it is polling on behalf of Innis and in the meantime tests a few potentially controversial points about Innis and Republican primary foe Frank Guinta.
Essentially, the voters are being asked whether they approved of Guinta being a "career politician." There is also mention of crime in Manchester during his tenure as mayor and the fact that he was once being late paying a sewer bill. A few votes he made as New Hampshire House member were also mentioned, and his congressional voting record was compared to that of conservative Minnesota Rep Michele Bachmann.
The callers also tested the fact that Innis is openly gay and that he was a dean of the business school at the University of New Hampshire.
TUESDAY, FEB. 11: HEMINGWAY'S STEERING COMMITTEE. Republican candidate for governor Andrew Hemingway has rolled out a campaign steering committee chock full of conservative politicians and businessmen.
Heading the list is former U.S. Sen. Gordon Humphrey, who has also lined up with U.S. Senate candidate Jim Rubens.
Also on Hemingway's committee are businessmen Ray Pinard, Sarah Ponn and Bill Ninteau of Manchester, Harold Turner of Concord, Mike Hartwick of Bedford, Phil Bean, who is also a Hampton selectman, Biz Corrow of Exeter and Don Gobin.
Others backing Hemingway are Cliff Hurst and Jeff Frost, both former Manchester Republican Committee chairmen; former state Sen. Jim Luther of Hollis, state Reps. Emily Sandblade of Manchester, Laura Jones of Rochester and John Burt of Goffstown, former state Commissioner of Employment Security Richard Brothers of Sanbornton, former Libertarian Party candidate for governor John Babiarz of Grafton and Goffstown GOP activist Pamela Manney.
(The full Sunday, Feb. 9 Granite Status follows.)
SUNDAY, FEB. 9: DOLLARS AND MORE DOLLARS. With recent polling showing both of the state's Democratic U.S. House members in trouble, they have at least one thing going for them - fundraising.
That's especially true for Rep. Annie Kuster, but even Carol Shea-Porter, not known as a big fundraiser, is ahead of her GOP challengers, as well.
The 2013 year-end fundraising reports, made public just over a week ago, show Kuster leading the group with just over $1 million ready to spend this year.
Of course, individual candidate fundraising is less important in this post-Citizens United era than it had been previously. The big money comes from the parties, the SuperPACs and the issue advocacy groups.
But how much is raised by the incumbents and challenger, along with polling, is often a guide for where these groups put their massive amounts of money.
In the 2nd District, Kuster, after raising $335,000 in the fourth quarter and $1.36 million since being elected in November 2012, entered 2014 with $1.06 million on hand.
Of her total raised, $938,000, or 68 percent, came from individuals and $419,000, or 32 percent, came from PACs.
Kuster far out-raised her two Republican challengers, who, in fairness, entered the race relatively recently.Gary Lambert, who announced for the office last September, raised $71,000 in the fourth quarter and $245,000 since entering the race.
Only $1,500 came from PAC contributions; the rest from individuals.
And Lambert entered the year with $218,500 on hand.Marilinda Garcia, who only filed her candidacy papers and began raising money in late November, reported raising $42,000, with all but $1,000 of it from individuals.
She entered the year with $34,000 on hand.
In the 1st District, Shea-Porter, after raising $160,000 in the fourth quarter of 2013 and $542,000 since being elected and returned to the seat in November 2012, entered the year with $357,389 on hand.
She has received about 60 percent of her cycle-to-date total contributions from individuals and 40 percent ($224,000) from PACs since the last election.
Republican former Rep. Frank Guinta led primary foe newcomer Dan Innis in fundraising, but not by very much.
Guinta reported raising $164,000 in the fourth quarter and $168,000 since he lost the seat to Shea-Porter in November 2012.
Of the total raised, $106,000, or 63 percent came from individuals while $62,000, or 37 percent, came from PACs.
Guinta began the year with $128,000 on hand.
Guinta's fundraising total is noteworthy because last fall, his campaign adviser told us the campaign had raised "over $200,000" for an event featuring U.S. Rep. and 2012 vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan - an event that had to be postponed due to Ryan's scheduling conflict brought about by the government shutdown.
That event is now scheduled for Feb. 18 in Manchester, also featuring Sen. Kelly Ayotte (who has obviously taken sides in the GOP primary).
So what about the "missing" $32,000?
The adviser, Ethan Zorfas, said it's not missing at all.
He said the event "raised about $200,000, as I mentioned at the time. Some of those commitments will be collected over the next several months."
And by the way, Guinta's campaign still lists outstanding loan balances totaling $288,500 from personal loans he made to his campaign back during his successful 2010 campaign.
Innis raised $106,000 between Oct. 28, when he filed his candidacy, and Dec. 31. He gave his campaign a $20,000 contribution and the rest came from other individual donors; no PAC money.
His campaign entered the year with $31,000 on hand.
- - - - - - - - - -
BROWN FOR GUINTA. Scott Brown, who headlined a fund-raiser for Guinta in Portsmouth in November, last week penned a fundraising email for him as well.
In the email, Brown mentions that Guinta is a former Manchester mayor (but not that he is a former congressman) and calls him a "friend" and "the type of guy we need fighting for us against Washington."
- - - - - - - - -
THE LATEST ROUND. Democrats and the GOP continue to fight the fight that isn't - at least not yet: Jeanne Shaheen vs. Scott Brown for the U.S. Senate seat.
We first reported on Twitter last week that the National Republican Senatorial Committee was hitting Shaheen with a web ad based on her radio comment that you can keep your doctor and hospital under Obamacare if you are "willing to pay more.
The ad sarcastically says "it's the Democrats' new health care fix - to keep your doctor, just pay more."
The New Hampshire Democratic Party continued to criticize Scott Brown for renting his email list to a firm that used it and his name to send out an email touting a controversial doctor who has espoused theories at odds with scientific evidence.
Brown's PAC reportedly collected $55,000 last year for renting out the email list.
Brown severed his ties with the vendor last Wednesday, but the state Democratic Party pressed on, saying Brown was "spreading misleading and dangerous" health-related information.
- - - - - - - - -
DEMOCRATIC NEWS. The NHDP's quarterly state committee meeting was held Saturday in Laconia.
District 1 Executive Council candidate Mike Cryans was the featured attraction and members were urged to get active in the campaign leading up to the March 11 special election.
(Republican council candidate Joe Kenney is taking the weekend off from campaigning, GOP sources said, and with good reason: He's on Marine duty at Fort Devens.)
It was the first Democratic State Committee meeting with Sean Doyle as party executive director. He was formally named to the post Jan. 22 after serving as acting executive director for several months.
Prior to working at the NHDP, Doyle, 27, was the director of operations at the Association of State Democratic Chairs, headed by NHDP Chairman Raymond Buckley, at the Democratic National Committee.
Doyle is a Manchester native and a graduate of Franklin Pierce University, where he also served as the president of the College Democrats of New Hampshire.
Buckley said Doyle "has a sharp political mind and will play a key role in New Hampshire Democratic victories in 2014 and beyond."
-- State Sen. Donna Soucy, D-Manchester, will be at the White House this week for a welcome ceremony for French President Nicolas Hollande. Soucy is the top elected Franco-American in New Hampshire state government and is fluent in French.
-- John F. Kennedy's top New Hampshire operative and former state party finance chairman Bob Shaine of Manchester was celebrated on his 90th birthday in Manchester last Wednesday by family, friends and political leaders.
Soucy, Buckley, Executive Councilor Chris Pappas, and former NHDP chair and Ambassador George Bruno delivered remarks, while former Gov. John Lynch, former Ambassador and U.S. Rep. Dick Swett, Shea-Porter and former presidential hopeful and U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman sent messages.
- - - - - - -
CONSERVATIVE NEWS. Americans for Prosperity-New Hampshire will continue its crusade against the Affordable Care Act on Tuesday with a "Real People, Real Stories" luncheon at the Concord Holiday Inn at noon.
AFP-NH says some Granite Staters will talk about the "impact" the ACA has had on them. We're told Fox News and CNN have inquired about national coverage.
-- Five hundred available free tickets were scooped up within 24 hours of the announcement last Wednesday of the "Freedom Summit" sponsored by the national AFP Foundation and Citizens United, AFP-NH state director Greg Moore says.
A waiting list is being compiled for the possible addition of more seating capacity at the Executive Court.
As we reported first, speakers will include Donald Trump, Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Arkansas Gov. and Fox News talk show host Mike Huckabee, U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn and American Enterprise Institute President Arthur Brooks.
John DiStaso is senior political reporter of the New Hampshire Union Leader and New Hampshire Sunday News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter: @jdistaso.