Rep Steve Vaillancourt



Thursday
Jun142012

Filing From A Hospital Bed

File this one under the "You Just Can't Make This Stuff Up" category, and just to be totally fair, I'll offer it totally without editorial comment.

In checking out the latest filings at Manchester City Hall today, I just happened to be present when Ward 4 Republican State, the venerable Rep Leo Pepino, called the mayor's office from his hospital bed, complaining that he couldn't make it down to City Hall to file for office (the deadline is Friday).

Could the City Clerk possibly send someone up to the hospital to file Leo?

The answer.

Yes.  In fact, you don't need to file in person at all (as long as your form is notarized).

I didn't hang around to see whether he planned to file for one of two seats in Ward 4 (thus creating a Republican primary) or for one of the three seats in the Ward 4-5-6-7 floterial (rather Democratric territory).  I'll guess the former.

Oh by the way, at last check, Leo's rating with the House Republican Alliance was 63 percent (mine is 73 for comparison purposes); he was present for 49 percent of the votes (100 percent for me).

Just the facts m'aam, just the facts!

Expect strange things to transpire on the filing front in the next few days, but it does apper, at least if Manchester is any example, that Democrats have a filing edge, especially in sorting out who is running in wards versus the floats.

For example, the three ward 1 Democrats have split it up this way--Jeff Goley (90 percent attendance) and Peter Ramsey (46 percent attendance) will run in the ward; Dan Sullivan (88 percent attendance attendance) will join Pat Long (of Ward 3--66 percent attendance) for the float which covers Wards 1, 2, and 3.

Just the facts m'aam, just the facts!

Thursday
Jun142012

The Week In Polls--June 14--A Romney Landslide?

            Some right wing extremists in the media (yes, Sean Hannity would be among them) are now contending that, based on Wisconsin results last week and continuing bad news on the economic front,  Mitt Romney is not only going to beat Barack Obama, but he’s going to win in a landslide.

            Thus, your assignment this week, should you choose to accept it, is to polling proof (if any actually exists) that this could in fact come to pass.

            Take your time, but while you’re looking, I have of course already completed the task.  While the landslide claim is still rather far-fetched, considering that Romney still trails in nationwide averages, there is in fact some evidence that Obama could be in trouble.

            Two weeks ago, for example, pollster (as in Huffington Post) had Obama beyond the magic 270 number for the Electoral College.  Today, with both Wisconsin and Michigan having moved to the toss-up category, Obama’s lead is down to 244-191, but it could be worse than that for Obama.

            Pollster still has New Hampshire as dark blue (very likely Obama) while Real Clear Politics (which has Obama ahead only 221-170 on the electoral front) lists New Hampshire as a true toss-up.

            Pollster also has Virginia as light blue (leans to Obama) while most other outfits have it as a toss-up.

            Pollster has Obama’s lead nationwide at 1.8 points (45.9-44.1) while RCP has it down to a precarious 0.8 points (45.7-44.9).

            They both have Obama’s popularity slipping into negative territory, -0.7 (47.7-48.4) with RCP and -1.3 (46.9-48.2) with pollster.

            Of course, state polls are what really matter most at this time, and there are certainly disquieting signs for Obama.  A new Michigan poll (Baydoun/Foster which is in fact a Democratic polling outfit) has Obama up only one in the state, 47-46.  Without Michigan, Obama could in fact lose by an electoral landslide, so there’s some proof.

            Rasmussen actually has Romney up three in Wisconsin (47-44); so much for those exit polls last week which showed Obama up by close to double digits.  Without Wisconsin, Obama could in fact lose by an electoral landslide, so there’s more proof.

            Rasmussen also has Republican Tommy Thompson way ahead of Baldwin—16 points (52-36) for the Wisconsin Senate seat.

            Some pundits are saying that, despite having his nominating convention in North Carolina, Obama will have to write that state off by Labor Day.  I can see why.  PPP, the polling firm with a deep Democratic bias, actually has Obama trailing by two (48-46) in the Tar Heel State.  If PPP says two, he’s probably really down five or six points.  PPP also has Obama up only six (48-42) in Nevada, so that’s probably tied.  (My new way of looking at PPP polls is to take four to six points away from Obama in each).

            We are blessed with a wealth of polls from states which really don’t matter—they are not in play, but we can look at the margins to get an idea of trends.  In Pennsylvania, for example, Quinnipiac has Obama up only six points (46-40) at the same time it has Democratic incumbent Senator Casey up 19 (51-32).  Thus, we can put Pennsylvania in the danger zone for Obama, more evidence that, horror of horrors, Sean Hannity could be right.

            There is indeed some evidence that Romney could win big.  (In my New Years predictions, I had Romney winning 53-47 with about 300 electoral votes; not exactly a landslide but not all that close either).

            I’ve been searching without success for new data out of New Hampshire.  American Research Group seems more interested in rating the pollsters rather than conducting its own new polls these days, so we’ll just have to wait.

            Fivethirtyeight.com still has Obama as a 69-31 favorite to win New Hampshire, with a vote in the range of 52.2-47.8, but that will change rapidly if new polling data shows Romney improving here.  I expect that may well be the case.

            Siena has Obama up 24 points (59-35), but that’s in New York State, and that’s about what we would expect.  Democratic Senator Gillibrand is up 38 points (63-25) in her race, so Obama is actually running somewhat worse than down ballot races. 

            The lack of coattails could prove devastating for Democrats in Senate and Congressional races.

            Rasmussen has Romney up seven (49-42) in Missouri (I think we should color that state light red) and up one (47-46) in Iowa which I had as leaning toward Obama.

            Yes indeed that’s another sign that a landslide, albeit by close margins (an oxymoronic landslide), could be in the offing.

            Just to think, when I began this assignment, I didn’t think a landslide was possible.

            I just might have changed my own mind.

            If you go to pollster, you might want to do something I have NOT done.  Read Mark Blumenthal’s article “Why Did Democratic Polls Get Wisconsin Wrong?”  I’m satisfied that they were wrong and thus can’t be trusted as much in the future.  I don’t need to know why, especially since my brother and sister-in-law are coming for the weekend, and I’ve got to clean the house.

            Rasmussen has Republicans up comfortably, six points (45-39) in the generic Congressional ballot this week—that sounds about right, but will it be enough to carry Frank Guinta and Charlie Bass back into office?

            Wir warden sehen.

            They’re outdoor types (no museums please; no politics either—I trust they have never voted for Bernie Sanders, but we don’t talk about it).  Any suggestion as to where I should take them (last year we tried the Ogunquit walk; we usually end up at Hampton Beach) would be welcome.

Wednesday
Jun132012

Is Picking Up Hitchhikers A Good Thing?

Most of my life I've attempted to avoid both hithch-hikng and picking up hitch-hickers, but a couple weeks ago after I drove past somebody thumbing for a ride, I felt a pang of remorse.   "It wouldn't have done you any harm to have given that person a ride," I told myself, vowing the pick up the next person seeking help.

An hour or so, I nearly did it again, but at the last minute, I stopped and offered a young lady a ride.  Unfortunately, she was going from Concord to Claremont, and I was heading south to Manchester, but I gave her a ride to the I-89 exchance.  She was a young mother trying to get home to take care of her daughter; darkness was two hours away; and she seemed worried.

Not only did I give her a ride, but I gave her some money--not a lot, but enough for a soda.

Had I been heading up to my brother's in Vermont, I would have gone out of my way and taken her into Claremont, but it was not to be.

But you know what, I felt better for having stopped and helped her...albeit it just a little.  I felt about as good as I did when I helped Rep. Peter Leishman pass the amendment to increase funding for those on the developmentally disabled list (another thing I wouldn't normally do--increase spending).

 

Thus, the answer to whether picking up hich-hickers is a good thing is yes, decidedly...because I felt better for having done it.  I know, I know, it can be dangerous; it could get one in trouble, but then I say things all the time that can (and do) get me in trouble.  Picking up hitch-hikers is safe in comparison to what I usually do.

I'm getting old, but I think I'll stop for more hitch-hikers as I get older.

If it feels good, do it.  Words to live by.  Stop and smell the roses; stop and pick up a hitch-hiker. 

Gee, I sure hope she make it to Claremont.

Wednesday
Jun132012

Return Of "Floats" Could Produce Filing Turmoil

            If Manchester is any indication—and I suspect it might well be—as we head toward the finish line in filing for State Rep races, there could be more than a little confusion.

            Since the state was without “floats” for the past decade, many, probably most, people have forgotten about them, but they are back, and while they are certainly necessary, they may be largely ignored.

            Every candidate in a district which is capped with a float has to decide whether to run in the underlying district or to file for the floterial instead.  Since floats cover a larger geographic area, most people tend to think it’s easier to win in the underlying district. 

            That may not necessarily be true, and what seems to be happening, at least in Manchester, is that an excess of candidates are filing in ward races (each Manchester ward gets two Reps as opposed to three currently), thus creating party primaries while seats in the floats seem to be going unfilled.

            I had assumed that the two parties would coordinate these efforts, but that does not appear to be the case in at least some instances.

             A Long Example--      Let’s take Pat Long for example.  The Ward 3 Alderman and incumbent Representative filed earlier this week to run in Ward 3, thus creating a primary for the two seats (incumbents Jean Jeudy and Peter Sullivan had also filed).  As I was noting this in my mind, I went back to check the next day and noted that Long had refilled, getting out of Ward 3 (and the need for a primary) and running for one of the two seats in the float covering wards 1, 2, and 3.

            This was smart strategy, and similar maneuvering may well be required a great deal in the next few days.

             Run, Steve, Run!  In my own Ward 8 for example, Republicans couldn’t even fill the ticket (three seats) two years ago and would most likely have won all three seats had they had the candidates.  This year, however, three people are running for two seats (yes, having convinced Gail Barry to run for Senate, I expect to file Friday for the House again—there really was a great deal of doubt for a long time).  James Webb, who has never won before—I recall he lost in a primary for alderman a while back and tried to run for State Rep two years ago but wasn’t registered properly, probably thinks he has a better chance of winning in Ward 8, but in fact, he most likely won’t make it out of the primary, and he would have a much better chance of winning in the two member float which also includes ward 9 and Litchfield.  That float is so strongly Republican that the party should carry the two seats in November (if they are from Manchester which dominates the district, albeit not by as much as I talked about yesterday for Senate District 18).

            I’m not bragging, just offering the kind of advice the parties need to heed.

             Parochial Indeed!  Speaking of that Senate District, Litchfield Rep George Lambert has apparently dropped out of the race and endorsed Gail Barry, and it seems he has convinced his wife to drop out of the 8-9-Litchfield float, so he can run there.  It still isn’t a good bet for him; two Manchester Republicans should win in the float (former Senator Andy Martel has already filed and is pretty much a sure thing); I doubt if Lambert, either Mr. or Mrs., will survive a primary; either or both should run for the underlying Litchfield seats.

            Someone responded to my blog yesterday by noting sarcastically that Manchester must be rather parochial.  It sure is, but it’s not just Manchester which is rather parochial.  In fact, that’s why we passed the Constitutional Amendment in 2006, so a bigger town (Hudson for example) could not dominate and “steal” the four seats which Pelham deserves.

            That’s why it’s such a tragedy that the House passed a plan which in fact steals from Pelham and which most assuredly means that Manchester will dominate Litchfield in that float.  Like it or not, it’s a fact of life, one which party “sachems” should be considering as they line up candidates these final few days.

            Of course, I realize that parties can’t control everybody—me for example—but they should be looking at the big picture as apparently someone is doing with Pat Long.  He’s sacrificing a sure seat in Ward 3 (the only Republican to win a State Rep seat there that I can remember was Frank Guinta) to run for a float which will most likely be controlled by Democrats, but not necessarily so.

            Let’s look at the West Side of Manchester for example.  Currently, the three wards are grouped together for eight seats (Ward 11 has no Reps).  With redistricting, each ward will get two seats (Democrat Joel Winters is almost certain to win in Ward 11—Gott sei Dank) and the three wards together comprise a two member float.

            I’ve said all along that the venerable and wonderful Irene Messier is nearly certain to win; she’s decided to run in Ward 10.  There can also be little doubt that former Democratic Rep Jane Bieulieau (also in Ward 10) will win; I’ve heard she’s running in the float.

            If it all sounds complicated, that’s because it is, but this is more than a game of inside baseball.  Surviving the primary and lining up forces for the November election is more critical than ever now, and the party which plays its cards right these next few days, not just in Manchester but statewide, will have a decided advantage in what could be a year when we’re headed close to 200-200.

            I say this not as a partisan, but as an analyst.

            It really does matter.

             Bring Back Marjorie--Biggest news on the filing front today is that Durham Democrat Marjorie Smith, first elected the same year as was—1996, is hoping to come back after a two year absence (touring the world, Marjorie?).  This could mean a Democratic primary—how Democrats hate to have primaries!—in Durham where no Republican need apply.  Marjorie could be back as Chair of Finance next year.  Whether she knows it or not, she’s one of my favorite people, even when we disagree (which is most of the time on fiscal—but certainly not on social—issues).  She recommended a great bio of Ataturk; I need more ideas…although this is the summer of baseball.

            Thanks to David Campbell, Nashua Democrat and candidate for Speaker, for loaning me the baseball book…great stories on Leroy Paige and Connie Mack… that would be Satchel and the most venerable of all the lords of the diamond. 

            Here's a trivia question, just a tad tricky.  Which TV sitcom star had the same name as Mack?

            But I digress…

             Any Feathers With That Tarr?--Anybody know anything about Manchester Ward 5 Republican who came in with a hundred dollars in cash to file to run for governor yesterday?  I know a great deal, mostly what I read in the now defunct NH Tribune…but do we really want to go to the Valley Street jail…not that there’s anything wrong with that.  Someone else can relate the story; I pass and only will note that you too can run for Governor…if you’re willing to part with a hundred.

Yes, that would be Lucille Ball.  Her maiden name on "I Love Lucy" was MacGillicuddy, and that of course was Connie Mack's real last name, too long for newspaper headlines so an enterprising reporter shorted it to Mack.  One of his offspring (grandson or great?) will probably lose the Florida Senate race to Democrat Nelson this fall...alhtough he has an outside shot.  His wife, the former Mrs. Sonny Bono, isn't helping any with a California address!  We kew Connie's address for decade after decade...Philadelphia.

Remember Lucille MacGillicuddy as the grape stomper and with the doube-headed (Ethel and Fred) dragon?   They don't make shows like that any more.  But then we have Frasier!  

True baseball fans know that his A's finished dead last much more than in first!
Tuesday
Jun122012

Monitor Questions New Censorship Policy...Of Course, I Respond

From: Annmarie Timmins [atimmins@cmonitor.com]
To: Vaillancourt, Steve
Subject: email policy for lawmakers

Hi Rep. Vaillancourt,

I'm doing a story about Spk. O'Brien's decision to circulate the state email policy to House members yesterday. Although it's a policy written for state employees or people who use state computers, he says it applies to elected officials too.

Any thoughts on that you'd be willing to share?

Shannon Bettencourt, who answered my questions to Greg Moore on this, said all representatives were told about this policy during their orientation. Do you recall hearing about it then?

Thanks,
Annmarie

--
Steve responds—

Orientation applies only to freshmen reps.  I don't believe we had computers back when I was a freshman rep!  Well, we had them but I don't think many people used them here in 1996.

I suspect you are partially responsible for this policy, thanks to your recent reporting...especially when you conflated the f word into a personal communication I had with Rep Commerford.  It was not an email to all--I send my blogs to all, but that email was a personal response to him when he said something rather loathsome to me...something like I have no life.  The type of response I once made to the vile Joe Levasseur when he said he hoped I went to Montreal and dropped dead friendless.  That's the type of remark that Commerford made and deserves a Fuck you.  It was Commerford who sent that to all, or His Vileness, I never did it.  Thus I was surprised when I saw it in your column, but I never pointed in out to you.  I suspect O'Brien was not happy with Jon (not John) Richardson's email either, but can anyone doubt that this policy is aimed squarely at me?  Or am I paranoid?
I really don't understand it because don't most reps have their own non-legislative accounts?  I have one (which I haven't used for years) but could easily go back to it or open up a new one. 


If you really want a quote though, allow me to take us back to Germany.  Sieg Heil!  Erich Honnecher, who was responsible for building the Wall in 1961 although he became dictator on his own later in the decade, was also minister of East German youth.  He was responsible for sending kids out to pull TV antennas off houses of East German citizens trying to get news of the world.  When I lived in Berlin in 1992 (even three years after the wall came down), there were virtually no phones in East Berlin.  In fact, Easterners still had chalkboards outside their apartment doors so people, unable to call them, could leave them messages.  The moral of our fable, dear children, is that totalitarian governments fear a free exchange of ideas, always have, always will (note Egypt last year).  This is yet further proof that Bill O'Brien aspires to be an absolute dictator, totalitarian, or fascist, you choose the description.  I am beyond being shocked at anything he does, but this is clearly another step down the road to fascism.  Dare I repeat, Sieg Heil?

Once again, I share everything I write (except personal responses like the one to Timmy C—I note that you failed to mention him and his slur to me) with all and will continue to do so, whether it means doing it from my own account rather than a legislative account. While I remain somewhat of a Luddite, I believe I know enough people with the technical savvy to circumvent this bit of fascism.
Long Live Lady Liberty.
Death To O'Brien's Tyranny

Dare I post this?  Need you ask?

By the way, I'm hoping to do a Media Watch of CACR 12 coverage (dig that crazy Telegraph headline!).  You mention in your reporting “two” pro CACR Democrats.  All I can find is Ramsey.  Do you mean Lynch (with not vote on this) as the second?
Peace.