Bender for Senate - Foster's Daily Democrat Editorial, "there is still time for primary voters to turn their attention to Jim Bender,"

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Ayotte and Binnie break faith with the voters
Foster's Daily Democrat

Thursday, August 26, 2010

When Foster's Daily Democrat began holding editorial board interviews with Republican primary candidates for U.S. Senate, everyone in the room was impressed with the quality, level of knowledge, and experience each brought to the race.

Kelly Ayotte, Bill Binnie, Jim Bender and Ovide Lamontage all offered something potentially worth this newspaper's endorsement and that of our readers.

That is no longer the case.

Unfortunately, since then the campaigns of Ayotte and Binnie have reached a disturbing level of name calling and backbiting that should have supporters packing their bags.

As for anyone who has yet to decide on a candidate to back, it is time narrow the choices to Bender and Lamontagne.

The recent antics of both Ayotte and Binnie are — to be kind — juvenile.

And what is worse, should either Ayotte or Binnie win the nomination, they have written the playbook that could help Democrat Paul Hodes defeat either of them in the November election.

Attack ads from either camp could simply be relabeled "Paid for by Paul Hodes for Senate."

As a former New Hampshire attorney general, Ayotte talks about leadership. It doesn't take leadership to tear your opponent down to build yourself up. It doesn't take leadership to encourage your campaign staff to lobby the media to do negative stories about your opponent.

It does take leadership to respond to attack ads by staying on a positive and productive message.

As for Binnie, he has apparently decided that any Ayotte advertisement that criticizes his positions on the issues is an attack ad.

WMUR has rightfully gone as far as to call Binnie's response to Ayotte one of "scorched earth." The same can be said for the Ayotte campaign.

In a recently released ad, for example, Binnie goes after Ayotte for never having been elected, only appointed. What election has Binnie ever won?

Binnie's tactics have gone a long way in giving credence to the accusation that he is a "bully with a big bag of money."

Who started this slide into a pool of political mud is irrelevant at this point. It's like trying to figure out which came first, the chicken or the egg. Both candidates need to stop tearing each other down in order to build themselves up.

While this negative tactic may have worked in the past, it is not serving either of them, or New Hampshire voters, well in the run-up to the Sept. 14 primary election. And it certainly won't in the general election where moderate, more independent-minded voters will mean the difference between winning and losing to Hodes.

Thankfully, there is still time for primary voters to turn their attention to Jim Bender and Ovide Lamontagne, both of whom have stayed focused on the issues.

It is worth noting that while Ayotte and Binnie have been going after each other tooth and nail, Hodes has been able to spend his campaign dollars to build a positive message and help voters forget his part in the disastrous Obama legislative mess.

Until recently, nearly all Hodes' advertising efforts were focused on attacking Ayotte, the presumed GOP nominee. Hodes has now been able to shift gears and is running television and Internet ads promoting his softer more personal side.

In other words the Ayotte-Binnie fight has allowed Hodes to momentarily distance himself from his far-left persona.


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