Saturday, May 3, 2014 at 10:55AM
NH Business Leader Condemns NHGOP, Scott Brown Campaign Tactics: "Rude," "No regard for our staff," "Had to be escorted out by security," "Left me feeling dirty," "Is this what NH politics is coming to?"
Business NH Magazine: Is This The Price Of Leadership?
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I recently had a front row seat to the direction political campaigns are taking in NH, and I must admit, it left me feeling dirty. Our company runs the Made in NH Expo, which features locally small business owners. This offer is always made to whoever is in office, no matter what their political affiliation. This year Gov. Maggie Hassan, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter took us up on our offer, and while Sen. Kelly Ayotte was not able to join us, she sent a letter of welcome to exhibitors and attendees for our opening ceremony.
However, some uninvited guests crashed the party, led by the new NH GOP Executive Director Matt Mowers. A former aide to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Mower brought a group of GOP operatives to the expo, no but to shop. While Mowers would always be welcome to any event we host, his entourage was problematic. Accompanied by a group who claimed to be outraged citizens or volunteers, Mowers' operatives sought to ambush Sen. Shaheen, TMZ style. Their goal, with cameras in hand, was to make a scene while filming her reactions. It was obvious they were have fun with the thrill of the hunt.
Unfortunately, the ambush was a distraction to exhibitors and attendees alike who wanted to meet and talk with the senator. These operatives had no regard for our staff, to whom they were rude or to the fact that they were not at a politifcal event. Their singular goal was to make a scene. When they had to be escorted out by security, they remained undeterred, waiting outside the hall and talking staff members to get information as to the senator's movements. They planted themselves outside of every exit waiting for Sen. Shaheen to leave. We watched as they swarmed her as she tried to speak with our publisher and, even a few minutes later, as the senator tried to get into her car.
I don't want to be a Pollyanna, shocked that politics get down and dirty (and yes, both side get down in the muck). But is this what NH politics is coming to, taking cues from TMZ? Haven't we been known for civil conversation because we'll likely be at a board meeting next week with those whom we disagree? Does NH really want to import a New Jersey campaign style that does away with civil discourse? I don't think so. Mr. Mowers did return on Saturday with Senate candidate Scott Brown. Clearly, he had told former Sen. Brown it was the place to be Brown spent several hour with unfettered access to 135 owners of small NH businesses and thousands of attendees. And no one person tried to ambush him.
Matthew J. Mowery