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John DiStaso's Granite Status: Shaheen on Bass: 'We must take him seriously'
Guinta told us in July that he would announce his political plans this month, and his former chief of staff and former campaign manager, Ethan Zorfas, said at the time he expects Guinta to run.
Meanwhile, UNH business school dean Dan Innis is exploring a run for the 1st District seat, while Democratic incumbent Rep. Carol Shea-Porter is expected to seek reelection.
The NRCC has backed Guinta in past elections and is expected to target both New Hampshire districts in 2014, viewing both Shea-Porter and fellow Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster as vulnerable.
(Earlier Granite Status reports follow.)
TUESDAY, SEPT. 10. NEW FUND-RAISING PLEA. It didn't take long for the Jeanne Shaheen "machine" to turn news of a possible 2014 Charlie Bass candidacy for the U.S. Senate into a fund-raising tool.
"A former U.S. congressman, Bass is already meeting with Republican Party leaders who are urging him to run against me. He's won federal races seven times in New Hampshire – we must take him seriously," says the latest email plea from Friends of Jeanne Shaheen.
"We're going to be hit with a wave of attacks the moment an announcement's made. Karl Rove and the Republican Super PACs are waiting in the wings...Will you help me?"
Shaheen has already raised more than $3.5 million and had more than $2 million on hand at the end of June.
Sept. 30 closes out the third-quarter fund-raising period.
Bass told the Granite Status last week that he is seriously considering a candidacy for the U.S. Senate next year and that Republicans are urging him to run.
He has not talked about a timetable for his decision.
Republican former state Sen. Jim Rubens is making an announcement on a possible Senate candidacy on Sept. 18 and is expected to run. Conservative Republican activist Karen Testerman is also eyeing a possible run for the Senate seat.
Van Ostern, of Concord, represents council District 2 and had been employed as brands manager at Stonyfield Farms for the past three years.
College for America is SNHU's a competency-based associates degree program recently approved by the U.S. Department of Education. It allows students to receive a degree based on their knowledge of the material rather than through the traditional credits program.
Van Ostern noted in a letter to friends and supporters today, obtained by the Granite Status, that the college was "cited by President Obama last month in his major policy address about how to fix higher education.
"I'm thrilled to be part of such an important mission and something so big, bold and potentially disruptive," Van Ostern, 34, wrote.
He wrote that he will begin his new post on Oct. 1.
But apparently, once one has the bug, it's hard to shake, especially when people start calling, complimenting and recruiting.
"He certainly passes the 'Who's that?'" test, more so than Jeb Bradley," said Scala. Bass' interest was prompted by Bradley's exit from contention. Bradley is the state Senate majority leader.
Republicans contend that last year, a big Democratic year, Bass actually ran fairly well against Kuster.GOP sources pointed out that Bass did better in the 2nd District in his race against Kuster than Romney did there in his race against Obama and Lamontagne did there in his contest with Hassan.
Still, polling in the months leading to the election showed Bass not particularly well-liked in his district, often "underwater," with more constituents viewing him unfavorably.
Democrats wasted no time dusting off the 2012 attacks, reviving a 2011 report by a liberal watchdog group charging that Bass was a "corrupt" congressman who acted to benefit his business while in the House, a charge Bass long ago denied.
Bass earlier this year used $400 of his campaign committee funds to pay his dues at the Republican Capitol Hill Club, a self-described "national social club" for Republicans.
So, it's apparently a "no-no." But an ethical scandal? Really?
Welcome back, Charlie.
We understand that after speaking to the media on Thursday, Bass is now "going dark" until he makes his decision.
"The amount of support and encouragement that I have received to enter the U.S. Senate race and seek the opportunity to serve the citizens of our great state is humbling," the statement read. " It is my intention, as I have said, to continue to discuss the prospects of a campaign over the coming weeks with my family and supporters.
Tranchemontagne had no comment on the dues question.
Looks like campaign mode to us. But we'll see.
- - - - - - - -
RUBENS NOT BACKING AWAY. The news on Bass sets up the possibility of a three-way, or possibly four-way, GOP Senate primary.
If he does, there would be two moderates in the race, leaving room for a conservative alternative.
Enter activist Karen Testerman? We'll see.
- - - - - - -
DRAFT FRANK. Former U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta has been nowhere to be found since telling us in July that he plans to announce his plans for a 1st District race against Rep. Carol Shea-Porter.
A new Facebook page, "Draft Frank Guinta 2014," went up on Friday, sponsored by "a group of Republicans from across the spectrum interested in drafting Frank Guinta to run and return to Congress in the First Congressional District."
RGA POLLING. While the Republicans continue to search for a viable candidate for governor next year, the national Republican Governors Association is already polling and message testing in the state.
Hampton-based media consultant and former Union Leader Executive Editor Charlie Perkins tells us he received a polling call Thursday evening from a Utah firm whose representative told him the RGA was the sponsor.
He said the 10-minute survey focused on the governor's race, but also asked for his attitude about President Barack Obama and the Tea Party.
"Those questions were all negative spins on her record," he said, "everything from raising state spending to radical pro-abortionist to gas/cigarette tax hiker to opponent of an anti-tax constitutional amendment."
Based on Perkins' description, we'd say the poll seemed more like message-testing than a push poll. But if it is construed as a push poll, it was a legal one because the caller identified the sponsor.
WHY? Our exclusive report on Friday that state Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley's son, Sebastian, voted in Colorado and in New Hampshire in 2008 has many political observers simply wondering why the young man would do it.
In any event, the state Democratic Party put out a scathing statement when our story appeared on Friday - an attack viewed as over-the-top by Republicans because it accused Bradley's son of "unethical and illegal behavior."
RETURN OF (THE) KING. Republican New York Congressman Pete King continues to get to know New Hampshire Republicans as he weighs a run for President in 2016.
The Long Island representative returned to the state Friday for the second time in about a month for a series of meetings and media interviews.
"I also want to get a feel for the direction the party is going in and help local candidates."
King said Friday that on Saturday he planned to keynote the Carroll County GOP Lobster Bake in Wolfeboro and attend the Seacoast Republican Women Chili Fest at the Scamman Farm in Stratham.
And, he said, he'll return yet again on Oct. 7 to speak at the New England Council's "Politics and Eggs" event at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics.
He said many Republicans House members are opposing Obama on striking Syria "because they don't believe the President is serious enough about it."
John DiStaso is senior political reporter of the New Hampshire Union Leader and New Hampshire Sunday News. He can be reached at email@example.com and followed on Twitter: @jdistaso.
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