Republicans Push Party Unity

Sep 12, 2014

Left to right: Frank Guinta, Walk Havenstein, Scott Brown, and Marilinda Garcia
Credit Josh Rogers/NHPR

The unity message could be heard from the podium and heard from the banquet room floor -- and not simply from the usual suspects.

“The Democrats will say this is all for show, Republicans will keep fighting, and will beat them by letting them split hairs and they will stay home.”

That’s Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who keynoted the breakfast.

“So I want to show N.H. today, what I want to show the country, is that we are unified.”

Here’s former N.H. House Speaker Bill O’Brien:

“The Republican tent can be as big as our country, because the Republican ideals are the American ideals.”

O’Brien isn’t a man given to compromise, but he sounded very much the pragmatist when making the case for GOP Senate nominee Scott Brown.

“I’d rather have an individual holding that position who is voting 70 to 80 percent of the time with N.H. than someone who is 99 percent of the time with Barack Obama, which means 99 percent of the time against what N.H. believes in.”

And O’Brien wasn’t the alone in signaling a fresh esteem for Brown, in the wake of his easy win in Tuesday’s primary. When it was announced that today is Brown’s 55th birthday, many in crowd joined in song.

“Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday dear Scott...”

When the singing stopped, Scott Brown stressed that Republicans have a big opportunity this year, but only if they approach their work as a team.

“We need to unify and we need to work together and take back our country and take back out state and really show them who’s in charge.”

Togetherness was stressed by every candidate. Its flip-side was a warning that Democrats are also united  -- and in wholly in thrall to President Obama. Listen to Gubernatorial nominee Walt Havenstein.

“We’re tired of Democrats embracing bad polices in Washington and tired of bad Democrat politicians embracing those polices here in NH.”

Havenstein may face the steepest challenge of any NH republican seeking major office this year. Voters have removed a sitting governor after one term only twice in the past hundred years. But Havenstein warned that keeping Governor Hassan – who has promised to veto a sales or income tax -- will push NH ever closer to what he termed Pandora’s box..

“Let’s never forget. Maggie Hassan is spending NH towards and income tax. Don’t ever forget that, that’s what her intention is.”

Amid the familiar GOP rallying cries against taxes and government overreach, there was also a more specific, more tactical message. It came from a top N.H. Republican who isn’t running this year, Senator Kelly Ayotte. She told party faithful they need to match Democrats organizationally.

“As I look back at our election in 2012, here’s the unfortunate part, they beat us on the ground. We can’t afford to be beat on the ground this year.”

Sound advice.  

That ground came will be decided in 55 days.