MANCHESTER – Despite this being his fourth run for major public office, the past week has been extremely tough for Ovide Lamontagne, especially when it comes to issues important to middle-class families. From opposing equal pay laws to dropping in the polls to being forced to address his radical ideas on women’s health care and more, Ovide Lamontagne had what can only be described as a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week.
In contrast, Maggie Hassan continued building strong momentum for her vision to create jobs and keep the economy moving forward, taking a six-point lead in the latest UNH poll and receiving endorsements from the New Hampshire Troopers’ Association, the New Hampshire Association of Police, and the Keene Sentinel.
The choice for New Hampshire voters was clear on a daily basis:
Sunday, October 21:
Ovide’s week got off to a rough start when, at a Manchester debate, the very first question – submitted by a member of the audience – asked about a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions, forcing Ovide to once again avoid his radical ideas that would restrict health care choices for women and make basic services like birth control, cancer screenings, and breast exams more expensive. Ovide responded by saying, “I’m disappointed that Maggie and her supporters continue to raise an issue that is not central to this election.” Unfortunately for Ovide, that very same day, a front-page Concord Monitor story reported[i] that Lamontagne would defund Planned Parenthood, supports a constitutional amendment to make all abortions a crime, and opposes a woman’s right to choose even in cases of rape or incest, and that he has been courting national anti-choice groups like the Susan B. Anthony List, which endorsed Lamontagne’s campaign last week.
At the very same time the debate was taking place, Ovide’s taped interview on WMUR’s Close Up program was causing him more problems, as he once again tried to mislead voters and hide his radical opposition to accepting federal funds for critical New Hampshire projects. When Lamontagne was asked if he would have accepted federal stimulus funds for the Manchester Airport access road project, Ovide again tried to mislead voters by stating, "Well I sure would have if I were governor of the state of NH. If I were in Congress, I would take a different position." [WMUR, 10/21/12] Lamontagne is on record dozens of times opposing the federal stimulus and has even gone as far as attacking former Attorney General and current U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte for using stimulus funds to help start a NH Cold Case Unit.[ii]
Monday, October 22:
Monday would be no better for Ovide, as a national website reported that Lamontagne voiced opposition to laws that require equal pay in the workplace for men and women, stating “I don’t know that it’s appropriate for the government to continue to micromanage the workplace.” Ovide went on to indicate that he was unaware of a New Hampshire law intended to require pay equity between men and women. The remarks again demonstrated how far out of touch Lamontagne is with the issues that matter to New Hampshire women and how much his radical ideas would hurt middle-class families. [ThinkProgress.org, 10/22/12]
Tuesday, October 23:
Ovide’s radical comments on equal pay continued to make waves, with U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen commenting “Pay discrimination doesn’t just hurt employees. It endangers the families who depend on the women who are working. This is not about micromanaging business. It’s about what’s fair for families in New Hampshire and across this country.” [Union Leader, 10/23/12] But the news got even worse for Lamontagne when the latest poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center poll showed a six-point lead for Hassan– and 13-point lead among women –indicating significant momentum behind Maggie’s campaign.
Additionally, it appears that the misleading personal attack on Maggie Hassan’s family might be causing a backlash, as WBIN interviewed a group of women Republicans who were highly upset about the ad, with one saying “I think think it's ridiculous. Whoever started that ad didn’t look into the whole idea." [WBIN, 10/23/12]
Wednesday, October 24:
Things continued to spiral for Lamontagne on Wednesday, as New Hampshire news outlets reported on his campaign’s tortured attempts to walk back Ovide’s radical opposition to equal pay laws. As the Union Leader reported, a Lamontagne campaign spokesman claimed, “Is it the government’s role to come in and say, ‘You will be paid X dollar amount in relation to another employee making X dollar amount? That’s what he means by micro-managing,” reinforcing Ovide’s initial statement opposing common-sense pay equity protections.
But Ovide had just what he was looking for to change the subject: an event featuring a who’s who of failed governors, including Chris Christie, the governor of the 47th ranked state in economic growth; former Governor Craig Benson, who was plagued by ethical problems during his one term in office; John H. Sununu, who increased state general fund spending in each of his budgets by more than 20 percent; and Steve Merrill, father of the Business Enterprise Tax.
Thursday, October 25:
Just when Ovide thought he had seen the worst of it, the Keene Sentinel released their endorsement of Maggie Hassan, touting her as “a respectful voice of reason and conscience.” Conversely, the Sentinel blasted Lamontagne for his radical ideas saying his “insistence that his staunchly conservative views on abortion, gay marriage and other social issues are simply not important in this election. The issues are there, whether simmering quietly or boiling over as they did recently under the current Legislature. For Lamontagne to say they shouldn’t matter to voters, while at the same time signing conservative social advocacy group pledges, attending earlier this year an anti-gay marriage rally and saying he’ll sign conservative social legislation if it crosses his desk, is disingenuous at best. The past two years have put New Hampshire’s long tradition of personal freedom in jeopardy, and Hassan stands as an antidote to those who would further chip it away.”
Friday, October 26:
Finally, Ovide has decided to cap his anti-women themed week by campaigning with Mark Steyn, a radically right-wing, anti-women media personality. Steyn has repeatedly issued attacks on women’s rights and prominent women in politics, including Elizabeth Warren, Sandra Fluke and Michelle Obama, and who has called woman’s right to choose “frivolous,” reinforcing Ovide Lamontagne’s own extreme views on women’s issues.
“You would think by the fourth time through Ovide would be better at this, but it seems there is no way for him to escape his radical ideas that would hurt middle class families and New Hampshire’s economy,” said Matt Burgess, Maggie Hassan’s campaign manager. “Maggie will keep New Hampshire moving forward, with an innovation plan to create jobs and help businesses grow, while Ovide Lamontagne’s agenda will take New Hampshire radically backwards.”
Ovide Lamontagne has said he would be a “radically different” governor than Governor Lynch[iii], with extreme positions like rejecting federal funds for local schools[iv] and ignoring rising tuition costs caused by cuts to higher education.[v] He supports plans to dismantle Medicare[vi], criminalize abortion and limit insurance coverage for birth control[vii], and defund Planned Parenthood, increasing costs for critical health care services for New Hampshire women and families.[viii]
[i] Social Issues Simmer, Concord Monitor, 10/21/12
[ii] Federal grant may fund cold case unit, Eagle Tribune, 5/24/09; Lamontagne takes aim at rival Ayotte, Union Leader, 7/22/0
[iv] Ovide rejected federal money to help K-12 NH public schools raise educational standards [Concord Monitor, 8/9/2010] and has said he would do it again [WGIR, 7/24/2012]
[v] Ovide has said tuition increases were not of “utmost concern” [WMUR, 9/6/2012]
[vi] Ovide believes state legislature should opt-out of Medicare and run program itself [Ovide2012.com, Union Leader, 2/10/2012]; supports Paul Ryan’s voucher program to end Medicare as we know it [NH Farm Bureau, 8/2012];
[vii] Supports a “Human Life Amendment” that outlaws all abortion, and even some forms of birth control and fertility treatments [Cornerstone debate, 6/5/2010]
[viii] Ovide supports Bill O’Brien’s decision to completely eliminate Planned Parenthood funding [NHPTV, 2012]