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Dan Tuohy has covered politics in the Granite State since 1993 and has reported from the Statehouse. A New Hampshire native, Tuohy is a past president of the New Hampshire Press Association.
June 14. 2013 3:31PM

John DiStaso's Granite Status: New pro-Ayotte ad on immigration reform; former NHGOP chair says she should 'stand on her own two feet'


 

FRIDAY, JUNE 14: NEW AD PRAISES KELLY AYOTTE. Two pro-immigration reform groups Friday began airing a television ad in New Hampshire praising Sen. Kelly Ayotte for having "courage and independence."


The 30-second spot is being co-sponsored by Americans for a Conservative Direction, which is funded by the Mark Zuckerberg- and Bill Gates-backed FWD.us, and InSPIRE STEM USA, which is co-chaired by former Sen. John E. Sununu and Maria Cardona, a former senior adviser to Hillary Clinton.


We've learned the ad will air for about a week on WMUR andstatewide cable. The buy is about $200,000.
 
InSPIRE STEM USA and FWD.us are bipartisan political groups advocating for "comprehensive immigration reform," focusing on a need for more highly-skilled workers in the high-tech and other modern industries.
 
FWD.us funds not only Americans for a Conservative Direction, which is focused on "conservative political outreach," but also the Council for American Job Growth, which is focused on "independent and progressive political outreach and activity," according to a spokesman.
 
(Earlier Granite Status reports follow.)


FRIDAY, JUNE 14: JACK'S STRAIGHT TALK. Four former state Republican chairs praised Sen. Kelly Ayotte for her stand in favor of the "Gang of Eight" immigration reform bill Thursday.


Not there were former chairs John H. Sununu and Jack Kimball.


Sununu told us he had no comment on the immigration issue.


Kimball, on the other hand, blasted out an Granite State Patriots Liberty PAC email Friday making clear his views on what he called "the Amnesty Bill."
 

"No Republican should be supporting anything in this bill unless it calls for securing our borders as its first priority," he wrote. "Secondly, if passed, this bill will forever change the political dynamic of our Country for within a very short period of time it will virtually guarantee that we will not see a Republican Administration.


"Why? Because the vast majority of those who will become Legalized will vote for the Democratic Party. Further, besides adding anywhere from 11 to 15 million new voters to the rolls these folks will also be able to add some of their extended family. This will be a disaster for the Republican Party as well as our Country," wrote Kimball.


His email did not mention Ayotte, but urged his fellow "Patriots" to contact their "representatives in Congress and tell them NOT to support the Amnesty Bill as written and to demand that our borders be completely secured before any further discussion is allowed to happen on this topic. If they ignore you then we will resolve that problem at the ballot box."


As for the senator, Kimball told us, "I truly believe she is way too close to John McCain. I'd like to see her stand on her own two feet a lot more."
 
Ayotte, for the record, was among the leaders of the state GOP hierarcy who called for Kimball's ouster as party chair back in 2011. So his criticism of Ayotte did not exactly shock her supporters.


Late Friday, Ayotte spokesman Jeff Grappone responded to Kimball’s criticism:


“Unfortunately, Jack doesn’t seem to understand this bill, which doesn’t automatically grant citizenship that would create new voters. Those seeking a green card would have to wait a minimum of 10 years, and they’d have to go to the back of the line, pass background checks, learn English, pay fines, pay taxes, and hold a steady job. This timeline would be dependent on first meeting border security and E-Verify objectives."

 
He continued, “With 11 million illegal immigrants living here without any consequences, the situation we have now is de facto amnesty. The bill Sen. Ayotte backs will stop the dangerous flow of illegal immigrants into our country through greater border security, more effective enforcement and a vigorous employment verification program. This legislation will also help grow our economy by modernizing our legal immigration system to allow high-skilled and other needed immigrants to work here legally, addressing a critical need she has heard frequently from New Hampshire’s business community.”
 

Kimball, by the way, is rallying fellow Granite Staters to Wednesday's Tea Party "Audit the IRS" rally in Washington.


"Lets let them all know that we will not accept BIG BROTHER any longer," Kimball wrote, urging supporters to carry signs urging impeachment for the President.


(Earlier Granite Status reports follow and can by found by clicking on "Granite Status" above.)
 
THURSDAY, JUNE 13: PROTESTING KELLY: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's "Mayors Against Illegal Guns" says that on Friday, "concerned citizens will join together in a day of remembrance and call to action in Salem to mark six months since the Newtown shooting."


The group, joined by an official of President Barack Obama's community organizing group "Organizing for Action," will call on Sen. Kelly Ayotte "to take a second look at life-saving background check legislation" -- that is, the Manchin-Toomey amendment, which she opposed two months ago. The measure essentially calls for universal background checks.


Since that vote, the "Mayors" group has aired four television ads in the state critical of Ayotte.


The group will gather at 11 a.m. Friday at the Tuscan Kitchen, a Salem restaurant.


Why there? That happens to be where Ayotte is expected to appear at about that time, co-hosting a private fund-raiser for the state Republican Party with Ohio Sen. Rob Portman.


The "Mayors" group says its rally coincides with launch of a 25-state bus tour in support of "gun violence prevention efforts" and to call for support for expanded background checks legislation.


The Granite Status has learned the bus tour will be in Concord next Tuesday, June 18, at 5 p.m. at the City Plaza. Scheduled to speak are Judy Stadtman, co-founder of the Project for Safer Communities-NH; John Cantin, a veteran, gun violence survivor and father of a gun violence victim, Rabbi Robin Nafshi and Reverend Kate Atkinson.


The bus tour will travel to New Hampshire from a Monday rally in Augusta, Maine.


Ayotte spokesman Jeff Grappone reacted with a statement:
"New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's out of state special interest group has spent millions on false attacks against Senator Ayotte. The gun control bill he wants wouldn't have prevented the tragedy in Newtown. Senator Ayotte stands by her votes to fix the current broken background check system, enhance prosecutions, and strengthen the mental health system."



Grappone said, "She voted for legislation that had bipartisan support to fix the current broken background check system, increase the prosecution of those who illegally seek to obtain firearms, and provide additional resources for school safety, while protecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. She also worked across party lines to pass an amendment to strengthen the nation's mental health system."



Earlier this week, the conservative advocacy group American Future Fund, based in Iowa, began airing its second television ad since the Manchin-Toomey vote praising Ayotte and blasting Bloomberg for trying to "tell New Hampshire what to think" in his group's ads.


(For earlier Granite Status reports, click on "Granite Status" above.)


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