NHDP Memo on Tomorrow's GOP Gubernatorial Primary Election

To: Interested Parties
From: Ray Buckley, Chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party
Date: September 8, 2014
Re: Tuesday's Primary - Anything short of an overwhelming win for failed CEO Walt Havenstein would deal a heavy blow to his campaign heading into general election

Heading into the Tuesday primary election, all signs point to failed CEO Walt Havenstein winning by a wide margin against his Republican gubernatorial primary opponent, Andrew Hemingway. Given Walt's significantly larger campaign war chest and backing by the Republican establishment, anything short of an overwhelming victory for Walt on Tuesday night would deal a heavy blow to his campaign moving into the general election.

By dumping nearly $1.5 million of his own money into his campaign, which translates into roughly 75 percent of his total so-called fundraising, Havenstein “raised” over $2 million, according to September 3rd campaign finance filings. In contrast, Hemingway raised just north of $100,000 total, less than even some state senate candidates.

That self-funding advantage enabled Havenstein to outspend Hemingway by a ratio of nearly 18-to-1. For weeks, Havenstein was the only candidate in the GOP gubernatorial primary to go up on broadcast and cable TV, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on campaign ads touting his Koch Brothers agenda and desperately attempting to cover up his record of mismanagement at SAIC that cost the company thousands of jobs and millions of dollars.

Throughout the primary, Havenstein also dedicated significant resources to radio ads and a robust direct mail program. Hemingway largely campaigned without paid advertisements and no indication of a direct mail program.

In comparison, during the 2012 Democratic gubernatorial primary both Governor Hassan and Jackie Cilley were up on TV and their spending differential was far closer at less than 4-to-1, according to September 5th, 2012 campaign finance filings.

And as the Republican Governors Association's (RGA) hand-picked candidate, Havenstein has also shored up much of the Republican establishment to back his campaign. National and state-level Republican establishment figures in Havenstein's corner include former 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte,
U.S. Senator John McCain, former New Hampshire Governor and U.S. Senator Judd Gregg, former New Hampshire Governor Steve Merrill, State Senate President Chuck Morse, State Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, and State Senators Russell Prescott, John Reagan, Bob Odell, Andy Sanborn and Sharon Carson.

Despite Havenstein's rocky campaign launch and re-occurring stumbles that triggered the Tea Party base to search for an alternative, Hemingway failed to capitalize on Havenstein's flaws enough to run a competitive campaign.

Taking these extraordinary advantages into account, if Havenstein can't pull off anything less than an overwhelming margin of victory in tomorrow's primary election, then Havenstein's campaign is in far worse shape for the general election than what already appears.