TWO HOT CONGRESSIONAL RACES IN NEW HAMPSHIRE: CAROL SHEA-PORTER AND PAUL HODES
I hope you remember Tony Guzzi, a DWT reader from New Jersey who first introduced us to Paul Hodes last spring. I asked him to give us an update on Paul's race and to introduce us to the other progressive Democrat running in the adjacent district, Carol Shea-Porter. A concerned dad of three, Tony wants his kids to grow up in a safe, sane and rational world. That explains why he's a Democrat-- and why he's a Paul Hodes and Carol Shea-Porter enthusiast.
A Tale of Two Progressives
It is not a stretch to say that the congressional election campaigns in New Hampshire are a microcosm of the 2006 election season for Democrats. The 1st and 2nd District races highlight the divergent forces at work within the Democratic Party as they seek to regain seats and a majority in Congress. There are those who believe a true grassroots approach, politics at its purest, is the only way to win an election and come away beholden to no one. Others will say that reality dictates the only way to fight the Big Money, Big Business and Big Bastards currently pissing on our heads is with a Democratic brand of the same. To be honest, at this point in time, I don't care how Democrats get elected-- the Party can win in the grassroots or the skybox, whatever. Basically, it is time to Unite or Die.
A unity of purpose and belief in Democratic principles must come at just this time. The only hope we have left to save our great Land from the disastrous course it has been on for six long years is to regain the People's House. The trampling of the Constitution, taking place right before our eyes, has to stop or this great experiment that is the United States of America will be gone as we know it. The Democratic Party is the conscience of America. Both candidates in New Hampshire represent all that is great about progressive and discerning policy.
When hearing of dissension among Democrats, the Rubber Stampers lift their eyes from their talking points and emerge from their delusion long enough to say, "There go the Democrats again, arguing among themselves. They have no plan." That is the Rove Map in action. Divide and conquer. A dime store psychologist would call this 'projection' on the part of the Rovians because in reality it is the Rubber Stamp congressional sheep that have no plan but to continue down the rabbit hole with George Bush in this all too real version of Alice in Wonderland.
So it falls on the adults and the accountable among us to act in our children's names. It is only right, then, that campaigns of such import should take place in the State whose motto is "Live Free or Die." New Hampshire voters pride themselves on their interest and intellect and by their willingness to buck the status quo. Those qualities portend good things for the Democratic Party in these congressional races, despite the uphill climb both candidates face using their differing approaches.
Paul Hodes, Democratic challenger for New Hampshire's 2nd District seat, is trying to convince the Granite State's voters that his blend of progressive programs and thoughtful leadership are the right answer for these troubled times. By using his own stellar grassroots efforts to get in the position to win, Mr. Hodes' campaign has recently been selected by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) as part of the 'Red to Blue' program recognizing the top Democratic challengers with a real chance to win over a seat in Congress; and with good reason. He's already been part of the Blue America program for several months, a great place to donate to his campaign. A recent poll, conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, indicates that Mr. Hodes is gaining on six-term Republican incumbent Representative Charlie Bass. Bass holds a 46-to-36 percentage point advantage with 17 percent undecided. In July, however, the results of a poll conducted by the same UNH group gave Bass a 53-to-25 advantage. Now that is momentum! All one needs to know about the Rubber Stumper Bass’ desperation is the need for his campaign to resort to planting some pinhead in the 'comments' sections of liberal blogs in order to post defeatist crap.
Carol Shea-Porter, like Mr. Hodes, is a progressive adult who believes that the "...next generation deserves the same opportunities that I had for an affordable education and a livable wage." Can anyone argue with that? Her opponent Jeb Bradley, incumbent Rubber Stamper in NH-01, can. He voted against minimum wage increases and now believes whole heartedly in privatizing Social Security so the Market will have seniors' and future retirees' hard earned capital to play with and lose. Anyone seen Al Gore's lockbox?
Next, how about this winning message from Mrs. Shea-Porter? "The policies of the Bush administration and Bush's supporters in Congress have taken us into an unnecessary war, given us the biggest deficits in American history, failed to protect our citizens, waged war on the environment, and nearly destroyed the middle class with punitive tax policies, and the ever-increasing costs for health care, gasoline, heating oil, and education." That is a winning message. Succinct and to the point and most importantly it is the TRUTH.
It is no wonder she surprised everyone by winning the Democratic Primary where the DCCC-selected candidate, Jim Craig, had a substantial war chest and an air of inevitability created Inside the Beltway for him. Mrs. Shea-Porter's message and old school approach to campaigning have given the king makers a lot to think about.
The fund raising difference going into the primary was amazing. This from the Nashua Telegraph: "Rochester teacher Carol Shea-Porter trails far behind Craig in fundraising, having brought in $6,971 over the past two months. She has spent $9,083 and has $17,328 in the bank... Craig's cash balance is $130,105." I guess there is something to be said for shoe leather, glad handing and sharing your message through human touch. Somewhere Howard Dean is smiling.
After her inspiring primary win, Mrs. Shea-Porter is continuing with her message and populist approach and again it seems to be getting her noticed. While still trailing Bradley in a recent poll 52% to 33%, that is up from a July figure that had Mrs. Shea-Porter with only 24%! Factor in the margin for error and undecided constituents and this election is a lot tighter than Big Energy Bradley would have liked. Mrs. Shea-Porter needs to continue reminding voters of Mr. Bradley's flip flopping affinity for privatizing Social Security all the while sharing her progressive views as an alternative. If so, she will continue to make up ground by Election Day. Campaigning with Wes Clark couldn't hurt either.
Back to the unity thing for a moment; for an upcoming campaign event, the defeated primary candidate Jim Craig will introduce his fellow Democrat, Carol Shea-Porter to the crowd. Unlike some politicians who put their own self interests above their party and the country. I wonder who that could be?
For more info on both of these exceptional candidates:
Paul Hodes: hodesforcongress.com
Carol Shea-Porter: carolforcongress.com