Over the past few weeks the national news media has been talking non-stop about how Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader, was ousted by an unknown primary contender. The main talking point of the post primary results is that Cantor “phoned it in.” He spent all of his time traveling the country rallying the GOP base for other candidates, and neglected to spend any time in his own home district. At one point Cantor was booed off the stage during a campaign speech.
How does this relate to New Hampshire politics?
There is an eerie similarity to Cantor and former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown’s campaign for the US Senate seat from New Hampshire.
Scott Brown has been driving his truck all across New Hampshire in an attempt to convince Granite Staters that he is one of us. Telling people that by spending time in New Hampshire as kid or weekends at his vacation home makes him a real Granite Stater.
True Granite Staters are just not buying it.
If Brown were a real Granite Stater, he would understand that we are less about grandstanding and photo ops, and more about substance. We want candidates who talk about their positions and are willing to stand up for their beliefs.
Brown is snubbing the people of New Hampshire by refusing to participate in local debates. Brown skipped a debate in Bedford in April, and now he is “booked up” an unable or unwilling to participate in the Merrimack Business Association’s debate tomorrow.
David McCray, chairman of the Merrimack Business Association and a former Merrimack town councilor, was less than impressed at the way that the Brown campaign treated him and his initiation to debate.
“McCray is angry at the way his business group was treated by the Brown campaign. An invitation to the June 18 Merrimack event went out to the candidates by registered mail on April 23,” McCray told the Union Leader. “In early May, McCray learned that Brown would not be attending, not from Brown’s campaign but from a Union Leader reporter. Offer rescinded.”
The irony is that McCray was a supporter of Scott Brown when he ran against Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts.
“We went to Stoneham on the day of the Massachusetts election when he ran against Elizabeth Warren and held Scott Brown signs, standing out in the cold for eight hours,” McCray told the Sentinel Enterprise. “He knew that. And yet he didn’t even have the common courtesy to respond to our invitation to a debate in 16 days. That bothered me.”
Even ultra-right wing conservative blogger, Granite Grok, had some choice words about Brown skipping the debate.
“So, Scott Brown, you used a media outlet as a cover to screw over a forum in which you’d be a sitting duck in being directly compared to your competition. Sure, you’ve accepted the big TV event debate – but that’s not how campaigning works here in NH.”
This is not the first time that Brown has ducked constituent questions.
“Twice in the last week Brown was confronted by real Granite Staters who asked him straight out if he supported raising the minimum wage.”
“I’ve supported a minimum wage increase before. It’s something that I think needs to be periodically reviewed, but it’s really important to make sure that everyone’s at the table, especially people who are hiring and growing,” Brown told the Concord Monitor.
Avoiding actually answering questions from real Granite Staters is quickly becoming a trend for Scott Brown.
What is Brown afraid of? Is he afraid to tell the people where he stands because he thinks it will hurt him with the ultra-conservatives who tend to vote in the primary? Or is he afraid that it will hurt him in a general election, if he actually gets through the primary.
Granite Staters take pride in being informed about whom they are voting for, and Brown thinks he can get away with B.S. answers and newspaper quotes instead of participating in local politics. It is bad enough that he did not work his way up through the ranks in New Hampshire like many of the other candidates.
The Union Leader asked McCray why he thinks Brown is ignoring the Merrimack debate and the voters of Merrimack?
“He’s playing it as if he has already won,” said McCray.
I am sure that is exactly what Eric Cantor thought too.