Mayberry tells NH1 News he hopes to decide on congressional bid next month
PORTSMOUTH -- Matt Mayberry says scores of Republican activists have asked him to consider running for Congress.
And in an interview with NH1 News, the former NHGOP vice-chair added that while he has “no set timetable,” he plans on making a decision “sometime in June” on whether to launch a campaign for the 2018 Republican nomination in the state’s 1st Congressional District.
Mayberry, a U.S. Air Force veteran, works in Portsmouth for Carlisle Capital, which along with NH1 News is owned by Bill Binnie. The Dover resident is a former city councilor and school board member, and has been a GOP activist for nearly four decades.
Mayberry, who’s term as the state party’s vice-chair ended in January, said he’s “still active, still visible, still working for the grassroots.”
And he said that conversations he’s had with grassroots activists in recent months spurred his interest in considering a congressional bid.
“I’ve been approached and talked with about 100 grassroots activists so far. And they’re hungry for real leadership. They want real visibility in their communities. They want somebody who’s actually going to work for them. What (incumbent Democratic Congresswoman) Carol Shea-Porter’s done is she’s come in, asked for their vote, gone to DC and never come back. She appears every two years. They want somebody who’s going to work for them,” Mayberry said.
Asked what his deciding factors would be when it comes to a run for Congress, Mayberry said “I think one of the big deciding factors is the grassroots. Is there an interest in me stepping up in a continuing leadership in the Republican Party and can I bring forward the advocacy for small businesses, for the veterans, for the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard across the river. They want a strong voice and if I’m that voice I’m happy to do it.”
As for a timetable, he explained “there’s no set timetable, but I also don’t want to keep people waiting. So I’d say sometime in June there would be some kind of decision made.”
And he’s confident he could raise the cash needed to launch such a campaign, telling NH1 News “I helped Jennifer Horn and Juliana Bergeron raise an unprecedented amount of money for the NHGOP this election.”
He added that money is important, “but you also have to have a strong message. If you don’t have a strong message, you could have $10 million in the bank but you’ll still lose. I know how to raise the money. I have a strong message. Can I put the two of them together and move this thing forward?”
The 1st District seat is currently held by Shea-Porter, a four-term Democrat. At this early date, she’s yet to officially say if she’ll run for re-election next year, but it’s likely Shea-Porter will make a bid for another term.
Eddie Edwards, the former South Hampton police chief and past chief of the state liquor commission’s enforcement and licensing division, announced early last month that he is running for the GOP nomination in the 1st CD, which is one of the most high profile and closely watched congressional districts in the country.
State Rep. John Burt of Goffstown told NH1 News earlier this month that he hopes to make an announcement on whether or not he runs for the GOP nomination in the 1st CD by July 1. And state Sen. Andy Sanborn of Bedford told NH1 News a couple of months ago he’s being encouraged to run. Sanborn's made a couple of trips to Washington DC to meet with GOP officials and consultants.
Also considering a bid is former state Health and Human Services Commissioner John Stephen of Manchester.
It’s highly unlikely that former Republican Congressman Frank Guinta will run in 2018 for his old seat. In 2010, Guinta defeated Shea-Porter when the Democratic incumbent was running for a third term in Congress. Shea-Porter returned the favor in 2012, ousting Guinta, but he beat her again in 2014. She narrowly won last year’s four-peat, to return to Congress.
Asked what issues he’d emphasize if he runs for Congress, Mayberry said “if I decide to run it will be about the availability of health care for veterans, the advocacy for small businesses. It will be working on our infrastructure. A lot of our bridges and roads are coming up on 80 years old. You need infrastructure. Those things matter. Cyber-security for our electric grid. It’s also working on the grassroots. It’s helping out on Social Security benefits. It’s helping the VA with their benefits. It’s really helping people have a better life and a better tomorrow than today.”
Mayberry was the first openly gay NHGOP vice-chair and if he run and wins, he’d be New Hampshire’s first openly gay member of Congress. And he’s a vice-chair of the recently launched Log Cabin Republicans of New Hampshire.
But he says that being gay “is only a part of who I am. I am a veteran, a small business owner, a Dover city councilor, a former Dover school board member. I’m an advocate. I helped homeless students. I helped the party grow. In 15 months I went to 330 events, advancing Republican causes and principals and helping other people get elected. So I am much more than a singular adjective.”