In Case You Missed It: Lamontagne resorts to desperate use of opponent’s age
On Wednesday, Ovide Lamontagne attacked his Republican primary opponent, Kevin Smith, for being “too young” to run for governor. Lamontagne, 55, has run for office numerous times over the past twenty years, but has yet to be elected to office. In an interview with reporter James Pindell, Lamontagne made a desperate reference to his opponent’s age in an effort to distract from his own past campaigns’ shortcomings:
“…Ovide Lamontagne partly attributes his loss to Democrat Jeanne Shaheen in the 1996 gubernatorial contest to his youth back then. In an interview on Wednesday, he cleverly turned his reasoning into a subtle jab on his 34-year-old Republican opponent Kevin Smith…
‘When you are in your mid-30s and you run for office statewide you don’t have the prospective [sic] on life experience to make a decision about whether or not you are the best candidate in the field,’ Lamontagne said. ‘You don’t have the life experience in terms of knowing people throughout the state to know a lot of people, and I know them now. The credibility of leadership experience I’ve had since that time — so I am a much different candidate than I was at the time.’” (‘Ovide Turns His 1996 Loss Into Subtle Slam Of Rival Kevin Smith’, WMUR Political Scoop, June 20, 2012 http://bit.ly/KPGhip)
The unfortunate remarks were made by Lamontagne during a 30-minute video-taped interview and can be viewed at the 8:00 minute mark.
Also in the article by WMUR Political Scoop, Kevin Smith’s campaign was asked to respond to Lamontagne’s blanket dismissal of candidates and elected officials in their thirties:
“Smith campaign adviser Jamie Burnett responded to Lamontagne’s comments, saying ‘Is Ovide suggesting that people in their 30s, like Nikki Haley, Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, Judd Gregg, and John E. Sununu, aren’t qualified to serve in office? These are the types of things campaigns say when they have nothing else to offer. Ovide was in his 30s when he was our party’s nominee in 1996. Does he actually think that he was unfit for office? Ovide’s rhetoric doesn’t even make sense. Voters aren’t looking for perennial candidates recycling worn out talking points. They’re looking for someone with new ideas and solutions to fix the problems facing our state.’” (http://bit.ly/KPGhip)
Kevin Smith would join a long list of successful and reform minded candidates who were elected to office in their thirties.
- Congressman John E. Sununu (R-NH) – elected at age 32
- Congressman Judd Gregg (R-NH) – elected at age 33
- Congressman Frank Guinta (R-NH) – elected at age 39
- Attorney General Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) – appointed as AG at age 35; argued Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England before the U.S. Supreme Court at age 36; defeated 52 year-old Ovide Lamontagne in the 2010 U.S. Senate Primary at age 41
- Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) – elected at age 29
- Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA) – elected at age 36
- Governor Nikki Haley (R-SC) – elected at age 38
- US Senator Marco Rubio – elected at age 39
- Ovide Lamontagne – Congressional candidate (1992) at age 35; Gubernatorial nominee at age 39 (1996); U.S. Senate candidate at age 52 (2010); Gubernatorial candidate again at age 54 (2012)
Ovide Lamontagne’s irresponsible characterization of age in politics highlights his own campaign’s shortcomings on substance, policy, and message. Lamontagne’s comments further underscore his twenty years of running unsuccessfully for public office and the need for New Hampshire to break from the stale politics of the past in exchange for fresh, bold leadership to move the state toward greater prosperity.
Kevin Smith has made a significant impact on the governor’s race by being the most substantive candidate running and aggressively pushing his New Hamsphire’s Future Is Now plan to rebuild the state’s economy. He is the first and only candidate to release a comprehensive plan for improving New Hampshire, and the first and only candidate to hold a series of town hall meetings across the state.