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Dave Solomon has been a reporter or editor for New England news organizations since 1977. He has served as executive editor of both the Portsmouth Herald and the Nashua Telegraph. He joined the reporting staff of the New Hampshire Union Leader in 2012.

Recent Granite Status

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September 28. 2013 11:18PM

John DiStaso's Granite Status: Scott Brown selling Mass home, raising more speculation he may run for NH’s US Senate seat

MONDAY, SEPT. 30: WILL BROWN MOVE TO NH? Former Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Scott Brown’s decision to sell his Wrenthem, Mass. home has again raised speculation that he might move out of the Bay State to his vacation home in Rye, New Hampshire.

And that, in turn, has again fueled speculation that he may run for the U.S. Senate in the Granite State against Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.

Brown’s plans are sure to be Topic A tonight when he appears at a fund-raiser for the Hampstead Republican Committee at the Granite Rose.

Brown has so far said only that the decision by him and his wife decision to put their  3,000-square-foot home on the market for $559,000 is personal. Brown works for the Nixon Peabody law firm in Boston and it is actually a shorter drive there from Rye than from Wrenthem.

Yet, making his seventh appearance for a Granite State Republican event in six months, Brown has done nothing to squelch the idea that he is considering running against Shaheen.

Shaheen has written several emails in recent months asking supporters for donations focusing on Brown’s potential plans.

Last Friday morning, she wrote that his Hampstead appearance is his “latest hint at running against me.”

That email was picked up by the chief of staff for Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Warren, of course, defeated Brown in the 2012 election.

The Warren chief of staff, Mindy Myers, last Friday afternoon forwarded Shaheen’s email out to Warren’s political email list.

Myers topped email with her own message, saying, “Believe it or not, our old friend Scott Brown is considering a move north to New Hampshire to run against Senator Shaheen in 2014.

“With your help, we beat Scott Brown and elected Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts. Let’s show Scott Brown: If he decides to run against Jeanne Shaheen, we’ll be there once again to stop him.

“Please make a donation to Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s campaign before her September fundraising deadline,” Myers wrote. The quarterly deadline is midnight tonight.

Today, the Massachusetts Republican Party filed a complaint with the Senate Ethics Committee on the Myers email.

The MassGOP noted that the Myers email went out at 1:35 p.m. on Friday, when the Senate was in session. The party said “there is reason to believe” Myers issued the partisan email while working in her capacity as chief of staff and did so “on government property using taxpayer resources.”

In New Hampshire, state Republican Chair Jennifer Horn tried to blame Shaheen for the Myers email.

 “At a time when our government is on the verge of a shutdown, it is disgraceful that Senator Jeanne Shaheen would use a taxpayer-funded employee working for a Massachusetts liberal like Elizabeth Warren to raise money for her campaign,” Horn wrote.

“Senator Shaheen’s fundraising activities raise serious ethical questions and remind voters that she is focused on raising campaign cash instead of serving the people of New Hampshire.”

Brown, meanwhile, responded to a query by the Washington-based Politico.com commenting on his own plans with a message critical of Shaheen.

“I have been traveling to all parts of the country helping good people get elected,” Politico said he wrote from his iPhone Sunday afternoon. “Sen shaheen should spend her taxpayer paid time focusing on working to avoid a govt shutdown and not obsessing about my help of candidates who oppose Obamacare and of which she was the deciding vote, thus hurting businesses and individuals in NH and throughout the country.”

(Earlier Granite Status reports follow.)
 
MONDAY, SEPT. 30: SLATER STEPS DOWN. After only six months on the job, Matt Slater is stepping down as executive director of the New Hampshire Republican State Committee.

Slater will return to New York and may end up working on a political campaign.

Slater said, "At this time I have decided that I would like to pursue other opportunities for the upcoming election cycle."

NHGOP Chair Jennifer Horn said Slater has been "outstanding" and said that his decision to leave early in the cycle will ensure that she will hire someone early enough to have a smooth transition and not disrupt party activities.

Horn said she has begun a search for successor and expects to name one in a few weeks. Slater said he will stay on the job for several weeks.

Slater began as NHGOP executive director on April 1.

"I am proud of the progress that our party made in building a strong, grassroots network over the past several months and I am confident that New Hampshire Republicans will make tremendous gains in the mid-term elections," Slater said.


(Earlier Granite Status reports follow.)
 
SUNDAY, SEPT. 29: FORMER U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton is putting his 2016 plans "in a box" while he focuses on helping Republicans he considers strong on national defense to get elected next year. President Obama, he charged, "doesn't care about national security issues except when he has no choice," is "comfortable with a declining American posture in the world" and is more concerned with "restructuring our domestic economy."

The former George W. Bush administration official and Fox News Channel commentator was in New Hampshire this weekend meeting with state Republicans.

He said in an interview that he has set up the "very creatively" named John Bolton Political Action Committee and the John Bolton SuperPAC to raise and contribute funds to U.S. House and Senate candidates in both primaries and the general election who believe national defense should be high priority and have "sound views" on foreign policy.

His SuperPAC "is not designed to purchase high-dollar national media advertising," but to "target individual races in specific districts." He will also appear for candidates and produce online and social media.

In the first-in-the-nation primary state for the first time in years, Bolton was hosted by former state Republican Chairman Fergus Cullen on Friday. On Saturday, he was to be at a party brunch at the home of national committeewoman Juliana Bergeron in Keene and at a Hillsborough County Republican picnic in Hollis.

Bolton, 64, has never run for political office. He said he considered a presidential candidacy during the 2012 campaign because of what he viewed as a lack of attention to national security.

Republicans then and still today allow Obama a free pass "for his lack of leadership on foreign policy." In Mitt Romney, he said, "It was clear we weren't going to have a candidate who made national security a priority."

But Bolton concluded it was too late for him to organize and raise the necessary funds to mount a serious effort for 2012.

Now, though, he says, "It would not be candid to say that having thought about (running) in 2012, that that possibility isn't out there" for 2016.

But at the moment, he wants to make sure that people who are strong advocates of national security get help.

He is "worried about the growth of neo-isolationism within the Republican Party. It's been a long time since we've seen that. It's important to have an opposing view.

"The libertarian conservative basis has to be you need an America where freedom is allowed to flourish, and if you don't have a strong national defense, all the rest of it is secondary," he said.

On current issues, Bolton dismissed Iran's new overtures and conciliatory tone as "pure propaganda."

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani "wants relief from the economic sanctions, which have caused economic trouble inside Iran, but have had no effect on the nuclear program."

He said the Syrian situation was a failure for the Obama administration. In the new UN Security Council resolution to secure and eliminate Syria's chemical weapons, "The Russians have essentially gotten everything they wanted."

On the debate in Washington over "Obamacare" and a potential government shutdown, Bolton said Republicans should take a lesson from 1995, when the GOP was blamed for the shutdown caused by a tug-of-war between President Bill Clinton and then House speaker Newt Gingrich.

"You have to have a game plan that keeps the issue on Obamacare and doesn't allow Obama to turn it into a debate about shutting down the government," Bolton said. "It cost us the presidency in 1996.

"Ultimately, I don't think the government will shut down," Bolton said.

COLLEGE REPUBLICANS: The executive board and chapter chairs of the New Hampshire Federation of College Republicans has endorsed passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, aimed at preventing discrimination against gay, bisexual and transgender persons in the workplaces.

The bill is headed for a U.S. Senate vote and the federation is urging Sen. Kelly Ayotte to support it. She has not yet stated her position.

College Republicans say they have been trying to "modernize" the party in recent months, "particularly with regard to younger voters, who overwhelmingly favor LGBT rights and protections."

RUBENS, SHAHEEN, BROWN: GOP U.S. Senate candidate Jim Rubens released his first web ad on Friday, calling Jeanne Shaheen wrong for voting in favor in committee of the resolution authorizing the use of force in Syria and on supporting "Obamacare."

Shaheen, meanwhile, is focusing on former Mass. Sen. Scott Brown. Shaheen notes in a fundraising email that Brown will make his seventh apperance in six months at a New Hampshire function on Monday.

He will keynote a fundraiser for the Hampstead Republican Committee at the Granite Rose at 7 p.m.

"Just like he did in his 2012 race against Elizabeth Warren, Brown would bring tens of millions in support from Wall Street and Tea Party billionaires," wrote Shaheen, seeking donations in time for Monday's deadline for third-quarter campaign committee filings by candidates for federal office.

NEW ASSOCIATES: B-Fresh Consulting, the policy/strategy firm headed by Chris and Sarah Crawford Stewart and Tyler Deaton, has added two new associates familiar to Granite State political activists.
Christine Baratta Fleming is a former spokesman for the state Republican Party and several issue advocacy groups.
Matt Flanders is former deputy New Hampshire campaign manager for Jon Huntsman's 2012 presidential effort and was deputy state director of John McCain's 2008 general election effort after heading up McCain's North Country activities.

John DiStaso is senior political reporter of the New Hampshire Union Leader and New Hampshire Sunday News. He can be reached at jdistaso@unionleader.com and followed on Twitter: @jdistaso.


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