Rep Steve Vaillancourt


Libertarian-Free NH Ballot Will Help Republicans

Both sample and absentee ballots have been available in New Hampshire for a few weeks now, so I assume I'm not the only one to notice something that in a close race could prove absolutely vital for Republicans.

If you have a ballot nearby, check it out

If not, I'm sure you'll take my word for it (or click on the link to Manchester sample ballots).  For the first time in many election cycles, Libertarians have chosen not to file candidates for office in New Hampshire, and no Independent candidates have filed enough petition signatures to get on the ballot.  

Our ballots in fact have four columns, one for all Republicans, one for all Democrats, and then two other columns, but at least in my district (Manchester, Ward 8), no names appear in the two other columns.

In a blowout election, this won't matter, but in a close election, it could matter a great deal, considering that Libertarian candidates are generally believed to take more votes away from Republicans than Democrats, perhaps by as much as a four to one margin.  Here's just one citation to prove the contention.

  1. Libertarians provided the margin for Democrats in at least ...
    Daily Kos 
    Nov 15, 2012 - It's hard to imagine the Libertarians helping Republicans in IN-Gov, CO-06, IN-02, ... However, it's not inconceivable that the Green hurt Dems in MI-01, ... would have needed to go to the GOP candidate to change the outcome:.

I've looked at the most recent off year election (2010).

In that race, John Barbiarz, the Libertarian candidate for governor, took 2.2 percent of the vote (not enough to influence the election since John Lynch beat John Stephen by about eight percent).

With Kelly Ayotte beating Paul Hodes by more than 100,000 votes for United States Senate (273,218-167,545), the 9194 votes for Independent Chris Booth and the 4753 for Libertarian Ken Blevins were far from decisive.

Nor were the 7966 votes for Libertarian Philip Hodson in the first Congressional District race since Frank Guinta defeated Carol Shea Porter by about 26,000 votes (121,655-95,503).

However, look at the race in the second c.d.  Charlie Bass beat ann McLane Kuster by only 3550 votes (108,619-105,060), and the two other candidates on the ballot received nearly 11,000 votes (6197 for Independent Tim vanBlommesteyn and 4796 for Libertarian Howard Wilson).

In other words, those third (or fourth) party votes could have made the difference.  Most likely, in this case, the Bass margin would have been greater against Kuster.

We could go through other years, but I'm sure you'll take my word for it.  Libertarian/Independent candidates generally have drawn in the two to three percent range.

With only Democrats and Republicans on the 2014 New Hampshire ballot, score it another advantage for Republicans in a year they are not likely to need any extra help.

Don't think I'm making this up.  The media has reported three incidents nationwide in which Libertarian candiates will likely hurt, perhaps fatally so, Republicans.

In Florida, Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Adrian Wyllie could likely caputre enough votes to give the win to Democrat Charlie "I Need A Fan Up My Pants" Crist over incumbent Republican Scott.

In Gerogia, Libertarian Amanda Swafford just might take enough votes to prevent either major party candidate (Nunn or Perdue) from reaching the 50 percent threshhold to avoid a runoff required by state law (the runoff, if you can believe it, wouldn't be until January 6, 2015, three days after the new Congress is sworn in).

In North Carolina, Libertarian Sean "The Pizza Guy" Haugh could well siphon off enough conservative votes to provide inucmbent Democrat Kay Hagan with a slim margin of victory over Republican Thom Tillis who has closed a four point gap to just one point in recent days.  Haugh is not likely to get the seven to eight percent he's registering in polls--third party candidates generally fade on election day--but any votes not cast for Tillis could be pivotal.

Republicans won't have that problem in New Hamsphire.  Apparently, Libertarians have "wised up" and learend that their presense on the ballot does far more harm than goood for the principles for which they stand.

Ward 1 Polling Location: WEBSTER SCHOOL, 2519 Elm Street
Ward 2 Polling Location: HILLSIDE MIDDLE SCHOOL, 112 Reservoir Avenue
Ward 3 Polling Location:  CAROL M. RINES CENTER, 1528 Elm Street
Ward 4 Polling Location:  MCDONOUGH SCHOOL, 550 Lowell Street
Ward 5 Polling Location:  BEECH STREET SCHOOL, 333 Beech Street
Ward 6 Polling Location:  ST. PIUS CCD CENTER, Candia Road and Sarto Street
Ward 7 Polling Location:  ST. ANTHONY COMMUNITY CENTER, 148 Belmont Street
Ward 8 Polling Location:  MEMORIAL HIGH SCHOOL, One Crusader Way
Ward 9 Polling Location:  BISHOP LEO E. O'NEIL YOUTH CENTER, 30 South Elm Street
Ward 10 Polling Location:  PARKER-VARNEY SCHOOL, 223 James Pollock Street
Ward 11 Polling Location:  GOSSLER PARK SCHOOL, 99 Sullivan Street
Ward 12 Polling Location: NORTHWEST ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, 300 Youville Street

Two New Polls Have Shaheen's Lead Down To Three

With two news polls out Monday, Missouri native Jeanne Shaheen's lead over New Hampshire native Scott Brown is down to 2.6 points in the Real Clear Politics average. Less than two weeks ago, Shaheen's lead was more than five points, and RCP had the race as "leans Democrat".  


Today, it's clearly a toss-up.  In both polls out today, Shaheen's lead is three points, 49-46 in a Suffolk Univesity poll and 48-45 in a UMass/Amherst poll.After looking at the internals of both polls, however, I find the Suffolk Poll far more credible.  It's sample included 27.2 % Democrats, 30.6 % Republicans, and 41.2 % Independents, probably rather close to what the actual turnout will be in two weeks.

The UMass poll, however, misses the mark by a great deal.  It includes only 26% Republicans, 32 % Democrats, and 42 % Independents.  Does any sentient human being really think Democrats will enjoy a six point turnout advantage in a state in which Republicans enjoy a 3.2 % registration advantage and a 10-12 point lead in the all-important enthusiam gap?  Apparently, that's what they think in Amherst.  

Perhaps those faulty samples explain why in the same survey, UMass shows us an almost unbelievable (as in not to be believed) lead of 17 points (54-37) for incumbent Democratic Representative Carol Shea Porter over Frank Guinta in the first c.d.  (Can this be a typo?  Check it out with your own eyes--below).

The unbelievable data from UMass continues.  While Democrat Porter is up by 17, the polling outfit has Democrat Annie Kuster actually behind challenger Marilinda Garcia by five points (48-43) in the second c.d.

If it's not a typo, these are the kind of results that give all polling a bad name!
That's why we should focus on the Suffolk poll here.  Adding to its credibility is the fact that 47 % of its respondents voted for Obama in 2012, 43% for Romney. The U.S. Senate margin is the same as in the UMass poll, but the internals are far more credible.

Suffolk has Obama down 16 points (40-56) in approval and 11.6 points (41.6-53.2) in favorability in New Hampshire, in line with RCP averages.
Suffolk has Shaheen viewed favorably 49-42 (although she's dead even at 46-46 in approval) and Brown viewed unfavorably 39-48, again rather in line with other recent polling data.

Clearly, this is a problem for Scott Brown.

Suffolk also polled the race for governor and again its numbers are in line with most other polls.  Governor Maggie Hassan leads Walt Havenstein by 10 points (49-39; she's up eight points in the RCP average). Hassan enjoys a big edge in favorability, 17 points (50-33) while Havenstein is at minus 4 (28-32).  Suffolk also ran numbers for Senator Kelly Ayotte and find her the most popular figure in the state, up 23 points (54-31).

You should be able to look all the results from both polls by clicking on the link in the RCP numbers below.  I would recommend a look at the Suffolk poll.  There's lots of good stuff there, such as a slight lead for Shaheen (34.2 to 33.0 %) in running the most negative campaign.

Suffolk also has Obamacare nearly 15 points (40.6-55.2) under water in New Hampshire.

Review all the data and see if you don't agree with me that Scott Brown seems to have the edge on issues but hasn't been able to turn that favorability number around.  The race most likely will come down to whether voters dislike Obama (and Shaheen as his surrogate) more than Brown.

PollDateSampleMoEShaheen (D)Brown (R)Spread
RCP Average 9/29 - 10/19 -- -- 47.8 45.2 Shaheen +2.6
Suffolk/Boston Herald 10/16 - 10/19 500 LV 4.4 49 46 Shaheen +3
UMass Amherst/WBZ 10/10 - 10/15 322 LV 6.6 48 45 Shaheen +3
New England College 10/9 - 10/9 1081 LV 3.0 47 48 Brown +1
High Point/SurveyUSA 10/4 - 10/8 824 LV 3.5 48 46 Shaheen +2
WMUR/UNH 9/29 - 10/5 532 LV 4.2 47 41 Shaheen +6

All New Hampshire Senate - Brown vs. Shaheen Polling Data

Polling Data

PollDateSampleMoEGarcia (R)Kuster (D)Spread
UMass Amherst/WBZ 10/10 - 10/15 162 LV -- 48 43 Garcia +5
New England College 10/9 - 10/9 545 LV 4.2 43 46 Kuster +3
New England College 10/3 - 10/3 660 LV 3.8 38 50 Kuster +12
WMUR/UNH 9/29 - 10/5 275 LV 5.9 41 37 Garcia +4
New England College 9/26 - 9/26 702 LV 3.7 39 50 Kuster +11
New England College 9/19 - 9/20 779 LV 3.5 38 49 Kuster +11
New England College 9/10 - 9/11 627 LV -- 37 50 Kuster +13
WMUR/UNH 8/7 - 8/17 312 LV 5.5 36 39 Kuster +3
WMUR/UNH 6/19 - 7/1 246 LV 6.2 36 50 Kuster +14
WMUR/UNH 4/1 - 4/9 184 LV -- 33 34 Kuster +1
WMUR/UNH 1/21 - 1/26 218 LV -- 30 36 Kuster +6


ollDateSampleMoEShea-Porter (D)Guinta (R)Spread
UMass Amherst/WBZ 10/10 - 10/15 160 LV -- 54 37 Shea-Porter +17
New England College 10/9 - 10/9 536 LV 4.2 44 46 Guinta +2
New England College 10/3 - 10/3 626 LV 3.9 47 44 Shea-Porter +3
WMUR/UNH 9/29 - 10/5 258 LV 6.1 42 39 Shea-Porter +3
New England College 9/26 - 9/26 629 LV 3.9 41 51 Guinta +10
New England College 9/19 - 9/20 715 LV 3.7 45 45 Tie
New England College 9/10 - 9/11 607 LV -- 46 42 Shea-Porter +4
WMUR/UNH 8/7 - 8/17 297 LV 5.7 41 45 Guinta +4
WMUR/UNH 6/19 - 7/1 263 LV 6.0 43 47 Guinta +4
WMUR/UNH 4/1 - 4/9 199 LV -- 44 35 Shea-Porter +9
WMUR/UNH 1/21 - 1/26 245 LV -- 39 45 Guinta +6
WMUR/UNH 10/7 - 10/16 258 LV -- 48 32 Shea-Porter +16
New England College 10/7 - 10/9 882 RV 3.3 43 42 Shea-Porter +1

NH Support For Marijuana Legalization Reaches 59-35%

With much of the focus on the Brown/Shaheen United States Senate race, another result from the recent WMUR Granite State Poll (from the highly respected Andy Smith at UNH) seems to have fallen a bit through the cracks.

Support for full-fledged legalization of marijuana (not just decriminalization or medical marijuana, mind you) contines to grow in leaps and bounds in New Hampshire.

It's up to 59 percent in favor and only 35 percent opposed, and by a stunning margin of 72-24, people support legalization with sale and taxation at outlets similar to state liquor stores.  (Unfortunately as long as the feds continue to ban the substance, sale at state-sanctioned outlets would be problematic legally, we were told earlier this year).

Wow!  72-24 percent.  Double wow!

Rather than quoting the numbers, I'll site the Channel 9 story and links here.   Maybe I can even find a chart or two; it's out there, but doesn't seem to be reproducing here; just click on the poll in the Channel 9 story.

Remember that the New Hampshire House stunned the political world when last spring it passed my bill on total legalization.  Of course, the bill was then sent to the Ways And Means Committee (stacked with Reefer Madness types) for further review, and was it defeated the second time around on the House floor even though clear data indicated the state would realized $25-50 million a year in taxation of the newly legalized substance; I use the two numbers because the Revenue Administration figures did not take into account sales to out of staters.

Of course, my bill never had a chance to get through the Senate and the governor even had the House passed it a second time, but we sent a powerful statement, and the battle continues.   Our best data is that about 12 percent of New Hampshire residents indulge regularly even though the substance is illegal; the rate of use for legal cigarettes is about 19 percent.

Rest assured, decriminalization will be back in 2015, and I trust legalization will not be far behind.  My sources tell me that our neighbors in Vermont and Maine are both ready to move for legalization, most likely in the form of a referendum in Maine (as was the case in Colorado).

By increasingly large margins, people want legalization. It's almost become a "no brainer".
How long will it take elected officials to catch up with the people?  Probably about as long as it took for marriage equality, it seems to me. 
Poll: Support grows for legalizing marijuana in NH

Majority of Granite Staters support legalizing recreational use of drug

Published  5:00 PM EDT Oct 17, 201NEXT STORY
Number of marijuana citations up since legalization in Portland
WMTW Image

MANCHESTER, N.H. —Support for legalizing marijuana continues to grow in New Hampshire.

A new WMUR Granite State Poll shows that 59 percent of New Hampshire adults support legalization of marijuana for recreational use, with 35 percent opposed.

Click to read full poll.

Support has increased by 8 percentage points over the past year, while opposition has dropped 6 points.

The polls shows that 27 percent of Granite Staters would like to keep marijuana laws as they are, with most of the rest favoring legalizing the drug or at least decriminalizing it.

The poll of 543 randomly selected New Hampshire adults was conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center by landline and cellphone from Oct. 6-13 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.

Read more:


Why Billy Idol Reminds Me Of Russia And The Ukraine

 Billy Idol Autobiography Gets Release Date

    Billy Idol 
    New Billy Idol album October 21! New single available now! And in his long-awaited autobiography Dancing With Myself, released October 7, 2014, Billy Idol ...
  • 35 years ago (or maybe even more), Billy Idol broke onto the punk scene with that patented sneer and hit after hit including "Rebel Yell", "White Wedding" and "Dancing With Myself."

    In the early 80s when I was being born as a new wave child (yes, I was and remain a punk rocker), Billy Idol was a particular favorite (no B52s of course), and apparently he's back...if in fact he ever went away.

    He's hosting the entire weekend on XMSirius First Wave (Channel 33), and while I only get the station when I'm in my car, I was lucky enough to just hear him explain how the song "Dancing With Myself" virtually wrote itself one morning when he was in the midst of a hangover.   

    First Wave is also playing songs off Billy's new album, and if you're like me, you probably usually prefer the old stuff.  From what I've heard, the new Billy Idol songs are as great as ever, perhaps a bit milder than those days in the 80s, but still great.

    Seems that Billy (now 60) can write stories as well as songs.  He's been reading from his new autobiography entitled...of course..."Dancing With Myself."

    Turn it up loud.

    "If I had the chance, I'd ask the world to dance, and I'll be dancing with myself."  Great lyrics, "with the record selection and the mirror's reflection, I'd be dancing with myself."

    Anyway, I have a great Billy Idol story, especially appropriate because remember how earlier this week, after running into a visitor from Dresden, Germany, at the State House plaza, I wrote about my time in Berlin.

    Jim, an Irish American and one of my best friends, was fond of going to Russian air shows (the Russians were in the process of leaving Germany in 1992) and he made friends with numerous Russian pilots.  One in particular (Valery) invited Jim and me to spend a weekend with him, his wife and young son at the Russian air base about 40 miles northeast of Berlin (near Templin).  It took us eight hours to make the necessary train and bus transfers to get to the base, but after we sneaked through a barbed write fence, they treated us to a shashlish (shishkabob) BBQ outside.
    I never was sure if what we were doing was legal or not (we communicated in our limited German; Jim knew just enough to get us in trouble), but Jim and I joked about hoping no international incident occurred that weekend.

    Knowing that Russians are very fond of giving gifts, we decided to bring our own assortment of gifts. Knowing that Valery was a punk rock fan (aren't all Russians?), I brought an assortment of CDs to play for them  (Bowie, Squeeze, Devo, ect).  When I told Valery he could have're way ahead of me...he chose the best of Bily Idol.

    Actually, I thought of Valery this summer because you see...while Russian, he was a Russian minority citizen of the Ukraine.
    The highlight of our trip to the Russian base was when, to get us back to the train station, one of Valery's friends changed license plates on an old car and went bombing along about 100 miles an hour down a runway (used by Russian bomber planes) to get us back to German soil.

    Another great sidelight.  Valery's nine year old son Dimi was especially amused by the t-shirt I was wearing at the time.  I hadn't done laundry for a while, so grabbed a joke Loonie Tunes t-shirt I had.  Dimi, with my camera rolling (of course I filmed the entire trip and plan to watch it tonight) was translating Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, Daffy Duck, etc. into of the best snippets of film I have.

    Ah yes, Billy Idol, I'll never forget how important you were not only to this punk rocker but apparently to a Russian pilot punk rocker at all.

    You just can't make this stuff up. I lack imagination so I can't make much up, but I just might fictionalize this little episode (maybe we'll get caught and thrown in a Russian jail) and make it a chapter in the great American novel "The Emperor of Quebec", but that's another story...a very long story.

     you are here.



    From Daniel Webster To Dresden...Or Vice Versa

    The Frauenkirche in Dresden, Germany, has been maginficently restored, I was told today.



                     File this under the heading, “It’s a small world.”

                    As I was walking across the State House plaza moments ago, I stopped to chat with a middle aged man taking a picture of the Daniel Webster statue.  When he mentioned how the plaque mentions that Webster died in Massachusetts, I decided to give him a short history lesson of the great statesman, including the part you won’t hear in most history books.  Webster was indeed a “great” man, but from everything I’ve been able to read, he wasn’t an especially good (that is to say…nice) man.

                    Yes, indeed, Daniel could apparently be bought, not that my goal is to disparage one of our more famous native sons.

                    I detected an accent from the visitor to the plaza, and sure enough, he was born in Berlin, Germany and currently lives in Dresden.

                    Regular readers here undoubtedly recall that I lived in Berlin for more than a year (1992-93) and filmed more than 50 hours of historical “stuff” in and around the city.  I was sitting in my Prenzlauer Berg apartment as 1992 became 1993, the Czechoslovakia was no more.

                    However—and this is a story I’ve never told—the very word “Dresden” usually bring me close to tears.  I refer of course to the devastation wrought upon the city with the firebombing during Lent, 1945.   I was in Dresden only briefly once, enroute from Berlin to Prague on one of those bus tours in 1985.  I don’t even think we were supposed to get out in the city, but the drive gave us a few minutes, and signs of the devastation were universal even 40 years later.

                    I know, I know, the Germans were responsible for many terrible things in World War II, but I’ve always considered the bombing of Dresden, a city with no military significance at the time and full of people traveling through, a particular tragedy.

                    Of course, the story is immortalized by Kurt Vonnegut in the classic science fiction book Slaughterhouse Five (Schlachthof Funf).

                    This German tourist today was certainly not alive during the war, and he had not read the Vonnegut classic; maybe he will now.

                    He was born in the Zehlendorf section of Berlin, far to the Southwest , near the American army base at Dahlem, near Potsdam, and as I recall and (something I chose not to mention tp him) home of the infamous Wannsee conference center.

                    His English was nearly perfect and we spoke for several minutes about how life in Germany is today; it’s been more than 20 years since I’ve been back.  When I was there, three years after the wall came down, Easterners and Westerners were not getting along all that well.  The East, having survived 40 years under Communist rule, was by all means the poor sister.

                    Not surprisingly, I learned today, the East is much more modern today; after all, it was rebuilt only after reunification.

                    I also learned that most of Dresden has now been restored to the glory it was prior to that unfortunate day at the start of Lent, 1945.

                    It’s a small world after all.

                    Maybe I should forego a few trips to Montreal next year and head back to Germany, the capital once again, and Dresden, the restored Florence on the Elbe, instead.