One of the backstage (backroom?) stories of the election in Manchester is how the candidacy of a new, first-rate candidate, Lisa Gravel, was done in -- not by voters-not-insiders unaware of what was going on behind the scenes, but by a stab-in-the-back by the city’s newly elected Mayor, Ted Gatsas, without any significant countervailing influence of the current Mayor, now Congressional Candidate, Frank Guinta.
Guinta and Gatsas are both Republicans. Gatsas endorsed a Democrat, Mr. Shea, for the Alderman’s seat in Ward 7. Guinta endorsed Gravel. Shea won.
The story plot thickened, however, when the Manchester Republican City Committee (MRCC) leafleted the city for Republican candidates. Yet, it neglected to include Ward 7 in its coverage under the (specious) pretexts that (1) the Committee ran out of material and (2) Ward 7 was too small to bother with. So, the Gravel campaign put out a red alert to myself and other grass-roots activists to help do a “lit drop” in Ward 7 on the Sunday just before election day. Only a select subset of voters, however, could be covered in so little time.
There is no evidence that Guinta’s endorsement carried any weight. There is even less indication that he said or did anything to try to dissuade Gatsas from endorsing Shea, or to urge the MRCC to do a lit drop in support of the Gravel candidacy in Ward 7.
Since the Mayor has been playing the same-old/same-old political game in his campaign for Congress -- of dialing for dollars, seeking endorsements from the GOP establishment and talking a conventional Republican line -- it should be no surprise that he would not go out of his way to support a bottom-up, grass-roots, outspoken, people-based, “shake up City Hall” candidacy of a fine candidate like Lisa Gravel.
Nice campaign, Lisa! Try again!
PETER BEARSE, Ph.D., Danville and North Hampton, Candidate for Congress and volunteer in the Gravel campaign, 11/4/09