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On Final Weekend Before The Election, Parties Rally And Look To Mobilize Support

Sara Plourde

If you are seeking nuance or restraint, you wont find it at a  get out the vote rally on the Sunday before a tight election.  

Here’s State GOP chairman Jennifer Horn last night in Manchester:

"This is our time. We need to crush it. We need to grab it.  We need to run with it, push their heads under over and over again until they cannot breathe anymore, until the elections are over Tuesday night."   

Watch the video of Horn's speech courtesy Carol Robidous of ManchesterInkLink.com

And here’s 2nd district Congresswoman Annie Kuster. She was speaking in Nashua.

"Fired up! Fired up! Whoooo! What an amazing crowd we have here today. You look beautiful. Whooo!"

Both event drew enthusiastic crowds. They whooped with every call to arms and cheered the by now well-oiled attack lines.

The crowd at the democratic rally was bigger. The appearance of a certain former N.H. primary winner probably helped.

"Ha, ha, hah, ha. Thank you"

"Hillary, Hillary, Hillary, Hillary."

The visit was Hillary Clinton’s first since 2008.  She recalled that N.H. lifted her up during what she called the lowest point of her presidential run, and had taught her “grit and detemination.”

She said Republicans here and across the county were staking everything on fear.

"Fear is the last resort for those who have run out of ideas and run out of hope. And and one of the many things I admire about Jeanne and Maggie is they are fearless. I have seen them in action, and I know it."

There were no big out of state names to headline the GOP event. But the 400 or so loyalists who turned out heard a scathing critique of Democratic leadership.

Former Governor John H. Sununu said  President Obama “screwed America,” and every Republican noted how staunchly their Democratic rivals back his policies. U.S. Senate nominee Scott Brown led the crowd in a bit of anti- Jeanne Shaheen call and response

"How much does she vote with the president?"


"I’m sorry I didn’t hear you."


"Excellent, 99%"  

Expect Republicans to hammer similar messages until the polls close tomorrow night. 

Dems Work The Seacoast

Credit Emily Corwin for NHPR
Malcolm O'Dell of South Hamptson turns out his 1937 Ford for the Democratic candidates on the N.H. Seacoast. Nov, 2014

A current of giddy tension ran through Portsmouth's democratic campaign office,  as politicians, staffers and activists hit the phones, hit the streets, and hit their giant stash of Halloween candy.

Democrats had filled Portsmouth with canvassers and were looking to move some deeper into Rockingham county. And the nerves were running, all the way to the very top. 

"I always have anxiety, that’s how you win campaigns,"

Jeanne Shaheen had dropped in to rally the troops but to Shaheen, time spent applauding her arrival could equal votes lost.

Of course the tail-end of a grueling campaign season will leave candidates and their cheerleaders acting   kind of punchy.  Case in point: N.H. Democratic party chairman Ray Buckley. Here he is introducing Human Rights Campaign director Chad Griffin.

"So he's really, like the top gay."

Which Griffin refutes:

"Ray IS the chief gay, I just want to be clear." [laughter]

Then, Buckley gets serious:

"We are down to the wire." 

Credit Emily Corwin for NHPR
Human Rights Campaign director Chad Griffin with N.H. Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley.

He says the worry is not Scott Brown’s popularity. It’s the possibility of Democratic apathy.

"There were 30,000 Democratic Voters that sat home on election day in 2010 and we saw what the results were. This year, that’s not gonna happen."

"Hello, Hi, this is Barbara Gregg Calling --. Ooops."

Another hang up, phone canvasser Barbara Gregg says.

"I think people seem a little frustrated maybe, a little tired of the whole thing… hahaha, one gentleman said 'there was just a young man asking me in person,' so he was getting a phone call and a canvasser within minutes of each other."

All of that will be over soon enough, but for canvassers and phone bankers, there's still plenty of voters to reach and less and less time to reach them. 

The GOP Gets On The Bus

Republicans at the top of the ticket went retail this weekend – with the candidates touring the state on a big blue chartered bus.  On a cold and wet Saturday they wended their way from Rochester up to Meredith, where they landed at a motorcycle museum.

Let’s get in out of the rain…”

Senate candidate Scott Brown looked at home among the dozens of veterans and local officials who turned out – and he took a few minutes inside with Center Harbor restaurant owner Amy Elfline, to take aim at the Democrats,

"Listen, A lot of those folks have never had a job, have never signed a check."

“And never managed a budget…”

“They don’t do budgets in an election year… You guys have shorts on I can’t believe it, I’m cold just looking at you…

Within the small talk, Brown was sure to make the all-important “ask”: 

“Tell all your employees to get out OK? ... This is my wife Gail by the way…”

There were more motorcycles at the next stop, also snowmobiles and ATVS – at HK Power Sports in Laconia, where Brown, first district congressional candidate Frank Guinta and gubernatorial candidate Walt Havenstein  mingled with dozens of supporters.

Local Ken Brock told Havenstein … he liked his style.

“It’s nice to see somebody that shoots straight…”

"Well, I don't know how to do it otherwise."

“I’m not sure why they keep saying ‘Koch brothers’...”

“You know I don’t know anything about that. I’ve never gotten any money from anybody named Koch but that’s the way politics is sometimes…”

While the billionaire Koch brothers make handy political villains for the Democrats – the GOP has its own version of Public Enemy Number One: President Obama.

Republicans are betting his unpopularity will sink New Hampshire Democrats… tomorrow.

Josh has worked at NHPR since 2000.

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