#NHPolitics Weekly Ins and Outs — February 24, 2024

By Colin Booth

February 24, 2024

Another week of #NHPolitics Ins and Outs, taking you on a tour of the ins and outs of the ever-changing world of New Hampshire Politics, keeping score of the winners and losers week-by-week — and letting you know who’s in and who’s out — with a dash of gossip to help everything go down real smooth.

Let’s get into it.

 

Who’s In?

Magicians — This week, magicians made their biggest comeback in New Hampshire politics since State Senate President Jeb Bradley’s time as a performer on the streets of Switzerland.

Friday morning NBC News Digital Politics Reporter Alex Seitz-Wald broke news that the campaign of Dean Phillips enlisted the help of a New Orleans magician to create a deepfaked robocall of Joe Biden telling New Hampshire Democrats not to vote for the president in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary, setting off a national firestorm and warnings that the long-heralded dystopian future of digital disinformation had arrived in full force.

The New Hampshire Biden-Harris Campaign — The president’s campaign this week announced some major key-hires on the ground for the Granite State, first reported by Kevin Landrigran. They include Deputy State Director Anna Breedlove, Political and Coalitions Director Emma Greenberg, Communications Director Marisa Nahem. Data and Analytics Director Taylor Blossom, and Chief Operations Officer Brittan Ostby. They join Senior Advisor Liz Purdy and State Director Aaron Jacobs.

Chris Pappas — a recent analysis show’s Congressman Pappas is among the most bipartisan members of the current congress, demonstrating a higher tendency for bipartisan voting behavior than 97% of his Democratic colleagues. This comes after Senator Maggie Hassan was ranked most bipartisan senator by the nonpartisan Lugar Center in 2021. 

Carlos Cardona — Fresh off serving as national campaign manager for the Marrianne Williamson campaign for President, Carlos Cardona announced his bid for State Senate in District 2 this week. One of the best networked political professionals in the state, Cardona will likely be able to tap a vast network of diverse resources in his bid for the Senate Seat against an opponent who might be going into the re-elect with some distinct disadvantages… 

Granite State Workers — Republicans lost big on so-called “Right to Work” legislation this week, and they lost ugly, publishing lists of Republican defectors and calling them union “thugs” who need to be expelled from the party (in since deleted tweets).

Data has shown that, on average, workers in RTW states are paid 3.2% less than workers with similar characteristics in non-RTW states, which translates to $1,670 less per year on average for a full-time worker.

Somehow, the NH GOP felt it was appropriate to fundraise off of losing on the highly unpopular legislation that would have almost certainly harmed the livelihoods of workers in the state.

A bold strategy, if not a wise one.

Who’s Out!

State Senator Tim Lang — During reporting on this week’s announcement of Carlos Cardona’s announced State Senate bid, some interesting tea was spilled about the current District 2 senator, Tim Lang.

Individuals in the State Legislature, who asked not to be named, said Lang has had issues with his behavior among his fellow Senators, even those in his own caucus. They say he has also privately expressed his intention to run for Senate President next term, a role currently occupied by (noted former street magician) Senate President Jeb Bradley, who has not yet announced if he will again seek the role.

Not the strongest position for a freshman senator going into a tough re-election fight.

Troy Merner — The disgraced former State Representative was indicted by a grand jury on a charge of wrongful voting, a felony which carries a penalty of up to 7 and a half years in prison or a $4,000 fine or both. Merner was arrested in November of last year after a long investigation heavily criticized for allowing Merner to continue to serve in office as it continued. The New Hampshire Department of Justice has said the investigation into Merner is ongoing.

Sherm Packard — Sherm Packard did not comment on the indictment of the former representative, and it’s easy to see why. Sherm has been credibly accused of engaging in a coverup of the Merner investigation, and allowed Merner to continue serving as a state representative and engaging in illegal votes while the investigation was ongoing, despite the precedent of past speakers not allowing such behavior.

Sherm has said he would not comment on future developments in the investigation. We’ll see how that holds up if his office is implicated in having engaged in criminal actions around Merner.

Don Bolduc — a sweetheart profile piece about the former Senate candidate’s new gig as a hometown cop went sideways this week as a national news story when the former candidate committed a cardinal sin of conservative politics: don’t give away the game.

Boluduc said his willingness to engage in election denialism on the results of the 2020 election was just ‘a political game.’

Bolduc has been seen campaigning closely alongside Nikki Haley and Chris Sununu in recent weeks, leaving one to wonder about the latest games they’re playing together.

Chris Sununu — This week Sununu did something we’ve seen a lot: go in front of a bunch of people and get a lot of attention for making bold predictions based on pure vibes. He told POLITICO’s Governors Summit that Trump’s hold on the GOP was a temporary affliction, and that “Assholes come and go.”

The only issue is that there is no evidence to back up Sununu’s claim—the Republican Party seems more enthralled by Trumpism than ever—and his history with predictions is about as good as his history with endorsements.

MSNBC Analyst Tim Miller called out Sununu’s hit on Trump, reminding people that Sununu’s predictions on Trump and trends in the Republican Party writ large have been wrong time and time again, and that he’d “like to see a little humility and reflection about why he’s been so wrong for 10 years and what he’s learned before making these predictions.”

Author

  • Colin Booth

    Based in Epsom, Colin Booth is Granite Post's political correspondent. A Granite State native and veteran political professional with a deep background in journalism, he's worked on campaigns and programs in battleground states across the country, ranging from New Hampshire, Texas, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C.

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