“[T]he N.H. Democratic Party, led by Ray Buckley, outspent the State Republican Committee.... Apparent financial mismanagement and weak support for Martin from the state party certainly didn’t help his cause, and you can’t help but wonder where the majority of the Dems’ campaign expenditures went—likely to pay Buckley and campaign staffers.”
The Granite State News On The NH DEMS Botched State Senate Campaign (4/23/09)
A Strong Message
Granite State News/Carroll County Independent
April 23, 2009
We were not at all surprised by the outcome of this week’s special election for the District 3 State Senate seat vacated by Bill Denley. As we warned in these pages last week, the unwillingness of Democrats to deal responsibly with the state’s fiscal crisis while devoting precious time and political capital to social causes most voters don’t support or see a need for would provoke a backlash. Bud Martin’s defeat by Jeb Bradley by a much greater margin than his November loss to Denley should send a strong and immediate message to the Democratic leadership to get back to basics and stop steamrolling social legislation.
By supporting Bradley, the voters across the 17 communities of District 3 rejected efforts by the most liberal wing of the House of Representatives to address social issues like gay marriage, transgender rights, mandatory seatbelt use and the death penalty as our state’s finances crumble. They said no to increased spending, which the House this month voted to fund with a $200 million tax package—including higher taxes on gas, tobacco and rooms and meals, which will no doubt have a negative effect on District 3’s towns, particularly the tourism hubs of Conway and Wolfeboro.
And while Bradley’s name recognition and 20-year record of public service led to higher campaign contributions, his victory can’t be attributed to resources. According to state receipt and expenditure records, Bradley had spent roughly $50,500 to Martin’s $30,000 as of April 15.
But records show that the N.H. Democratic Party, led by Ray Buckley, outspent the State Republican Committee $177,000 to $15,000, all the while maintaining less visibility in the press, where the GOP repeatedly hammered Martin for hiding a “radical” social agenda. Apparent financial mismanagement and weak support for Martin from the state party certainly didn’t help his cause, and you can’t help but wonder where the majority of the Dems’ campaign expenditures went—likely to pay Buckley and campaign staffers. The GOP wanted this seat more, and so did District 3’s Republican base.
Even without the District 3 seat, Democrats are still in the majority in the State Senate, so they can still rubber stamp the bills already pushed through the house. We hope they do not, but instead review the proposed legislation carefully and consider whether they are truly needed or simply “trophy” laws that demonstrate what can be done in a single-party state. We also hope they’re able to run our state more effectively than they run their State Senate campaigns.
Otherwise in 2010 the Democrat majority may turn out to be the shortest-lived in New Hampshire history.