Apr 24, 2015 2:52 PM
NH1 Newsmakers: NH state party chairs tangle on Hillary Clinton, salute Mike Downing
NH1 Political Pulse - NH1.com
CONCORD - The state’s top two political leaders engaged in spirited debate and uncommon agreement during Sunday’s "Newsmakers" on NH1.
The half-hour news talk program was taped on Friday afternoon.
State Democratic Chair Ray Buckley and Republican Chair Jennifer Horn tangled over the impact of Hillary Clinton’s first trip to New Hampshire and whether Republican businessman Donald Trump could become a serious contender.
"You’ve got to remember the Shaheen campaign has been involved in seven primaries and every time they have been involved, their candidate has won," Buckley said.
Shaheen’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, was Shaheen’s chief strategist during her first bid for the US Senate in 2002.
Heading up Hillary Clinton’s New Hampshire operation is Mike Vlacich who ran Shaheen’s re-election victory campaign in 2014 and worked for Shaheen when she was governor of New Hampshire.
Vlacich also serves as Shaheen’s state office director.
Hillary Clinton’s spokesman in New Hampshire is Harrell Kirstein who played the same role for Shaheen and the state Democratic Party last year.
And Buckley insisted Clinton will remain focused not just on winning the first-in-the-nation primary but getting the nomination for the first time and replacing retiring President Barack Obama.
"Remember it’s not going to be aimed at February; it’s going to be aimed at November 2016,’’ Buckley added.
Horn insisted Clinton’s trip was marked by too much insulation from the public and media.
"I would suggest that lack of accessibility, lack of spontaneity, very limited interaction with real voters, no unfiltered questions whatsoever and you pile on that more additional scandals,’’ Horn said.
Horn said she wasn’t surprised that Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee split, 9-4, for a casino even though the party platform opposes expanded gambling.
"The party is much like the rest of this state, deeply divided on this question,’’ Horn said.
In a rare show of unanimity, both party chairs agreed Rockingham County was a big loser with the death of Sheriff Mike Downing who lost his battle with cancer at age 60.
"He was one of the genuine good guys on the political scene,’’ Horn said. ``He was a community leader, he was a beloved husband and father, neighbor and friend.
"Mike is one of those folks who really believed in politics as public service.’’
Buckley, a former member of the New Hampshire House for 18 years, offers fond memories of Downing as well.
"I knew him, his dad was the Senate Democratic leader in the 1970s, ran for governor in 1978 while I was working for the state party,’’ Buckley added. ``He was really a terrific person.’’
NH1 Newsmakers airs Sunday at 11:30 am and is rebroadcast at 10:30 pm on WBIN-TV.