Mar 7, 2016 10:42 PM
NH1 News Political Director
CONCORD – Jim Rubens says if he were in the U.S. Senate right now, he’d “absolutely” meet with anyone President Barack Obama nominates to the Supreme Court because “the job of being a United States senator is to be brave and take tough votes.”
Rubens, who’s launched a primary challenge against Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte, made his comments in a one-on-one interview with NH1 News on Monday.
Ayotte has refused to meet with anyone the President nominates to succeed the late Antonin Scalia, the conservative Supreme Court justice who died un-expectantly last month. Ayotte, along with most other Republican senators, supports Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s position that the next president, rather than Obama, should nominate a person to fill the high court vacancy.
But Rubens disagrees, telling NH1 News “I think the Senate ought to be responsible. The President of the United States has the authority under the Constitution to propose a nominee. And the Senate ought to be brave enough, and I understand it’s going to be uncomfortable for members of the United States Senate to contemplate a nominee. It’s going to be politically tough. But if you’re going to become a United States senator and serve in office you’ve got to take tough votes.”
Asked if he were in the Senate right now, would he give the President’s nominee a fair hearing, Rubens shot back “absolutely.”
“But I would warn the President up front ‘if you give us a nominee that doesn’t believe in the Constitution that nominee is dead on arrival’,” he added.
Rubens OK with Trump at top of ticket
Rubens isn’t dancing around the likelihood of having Donald Trump as his party’s presidential nominee. He said he’s already indicated he’d back Trump as GOP nominee.
While he takes issue with many things Trump’s said, Rubens added that real estate mogul turned presidential candidate is “representing part of what Americans want. And what I think he also represents is the failure of my party and the Democratic party to put forward candidates to represent the American people, to solve the problems the American people want resolved.”
That differs from Ayotte, who told NH1 News last week that “I plan support the Republican nominee. However I’m going to watch to see how this process plays out.”
Rubens spoke with NH1 News on Monday, a couple of days after he announced his bid to primary challenge Ayotte. Rubens is a former state senator who in 2014 who lost to former Sen. Scott Brown but narrowly edged out former Sen. Bob Smith in a three way primary battle for the Republican nomination to face off against Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.
Rubens and Smith split the conservative vote in 2014, but he says that won’t happen this time around.
“It demoralized Bob Smith’s supporters. It demoralized my supporters, because we could see we were divided. That mistake is not being made this time,” he said.
Rubens added that this time around “there’s a clear agreement there should be a single person. I’m that candidate.”
Rubens explained that “we need a candidate…to bring all of the parts of the Republican party back together again so we can win. And not only that, I can bring in folks that ordinarily don’t vote for Republicans.”
Are conservatives on board with Rubens?
But Jack Kimball, a former New Hampshire GOP chairman who made a bid for the 2010 Republican gubernatorial nomination, isn’t giving Rubens his support.
Kimball, who managed Smith’s 2014 Senate campaign, said at this stage he’s “not supporting anybody.”
Kimball added that even though “Jim and I are civil to each other… I can’t really support him.”
He’s “not a conservative option,” Kimball added.
Michael Dennehy, a veteran Concord based GOP consultant, said “Rubens isn't a movement conservative. He's more of libertarian. And he'll certainly get some support from the liberty minded Republicans but whether he gets that movement conservative support is still a question.”
Rubens was quick to criticize Ayotte, saying “she’s made horrible votes year after year so the conservative base, the anti-establishment base, has simply abandoned her.”
“We’re looking at what Kelly Ayotte has done. We’re seeing her seeing her breaking her sworn promise not to vote for amnesty, and she voted for the Gang of Eight amnesty bill, Rubens charged.
“She promised to be a fiscal conservative and in just the last 16 months she’s voted to add 1.5 trillion, that’s trillion with a t, dollars to the national debt. That’s not fiscal conservatism,” he added.
“What caps it off for me, what really clinched it for me is her becoming such a big cheerleader for Hillary Clinton’s failed endless national building wars. These wars have not worked. ISIS is now operational in eight countries around the world and Americans are less safe,” Rubens continued.
While Kimball isn’t supporting Rubens, he does agree with him on Ayotte.
“She’s brought a primary challenge on herself,” Kimball told NH1 News. “Check her voting record. it’s worse than John McCain’s”
Ayotte campaign manager Jon Kohan told NH1 News that “Kelly's deep grassroots support is backed by a town by town network of activists across the state. She has a strong conservative record of
delivering results for New Hampshire and she will continue to carry that message to every corner of the state in the months to come.”
Ayotte’s facing off against Democratic governor Maggie Hassan in a Senate race that is shaping up to be one of the most high profile, expensive and negative contests in the country. And the outcome of the election could determine whether the GOP keeps control of the Senate in 2017.
Now Ayotte has to also keep an eye on Rubens.
“No doubt about it, Jim Rubens will be a thorn in Kelly Ayotte's side. And it's something that she does not want when she's facing a stiff challenge from the incumbent governor,” said Dennehy, who was a top adviser to Sen. John McCain’s 2000 and 2008 presidential campaign and who was Rick Perry’s top New Hampshire adviser last year as the former Texas governor ran for the GOP nomination before dropping out.
But Dennehy added that for Kimball, “it’s a huge uphill battle.”
David Carney agrees.
The former longtime Perry political adviser who’s now leading a pro-Ayotte super PACs efforts told NH1 News that “Jim is a decent guy but he continues to tilt at windmills and will have a very steep hill to climb. Perennial candidates tend to wan in support each cycle the run and discuss running.”
State and national Democrats highlighted Rubens’ announcement and some of his critical comments directed at Ayotte. Asked by NH1 News if he’s playing into the Democrats hands, Rubens said no, adding that the Democrats “don’t understand that the base has abandoned her and the base will not do lesser of two evils anymore.”
5 hours 42 minutes agoSpring may be upon us in the Granite State, but the weather still has some snow in store. (More)
4 hours 31 minutes agoThe masked man allegedly went behind the counter, stuffed an undetermined amount of cash into a paper McDonald's bag and pushed the employee to...
20 hours 36 minutes agoNeighbors who live near the scene of a homicide in Manchester say they're 'unnerved' that something that serious happened so close to home. (More)
Mar 28, 2017 7:29 AMA Massachusetts woman who pleaded guilty in the fentanyl overdose death of a 17-year-old girl at a New Hampshire motel is scheduled to be...
Mar 27, 2017 2:38 PMA Manchester woman allegedly threatened to poop on an officer's leg following a domestic assault incident. (More)
Mar 27, 2017 11:58 AMSupporters of convicted murderer Pam Smart launched a Twitterstorm to support her release after she coerced her teenage lover into killing her husband. (More)
22 hours 25 minutes agoThe New Hampshire Attorney General announced an ongoing investigation into the untimely death of an adult man. (More)
Mar 28, 2017 9:23 AMThe Manchester Police Department was on scene of an 'untimely death' Tuesday morning. (More)
Mar 27, 2017 10:20 PMA Florida woman was charged after crossing the yellow line and colliding with another vehicle head-on in Rochester. (More)
Mar 27, 2017 1:02 PMThe Manchester Police Department awarded a man - who recently evicted the tenants from his Derry home following a shooting - officer of the...
Mar 27, 2017 10:34 AMA local carpentry company was slapped with a fine earlier this month by OSHA as they investigate a truss collapse that occurred last year...
Mar 27, 2017 9:55 PMA snowmobiler was found dead on a trail Monday from an apparent collision with a tree after failing to return home Sunday night. (More)
Mar 26, 2017 9:35 PMPolice said a sex offender kicked down a door and then assaulted a man. He is charged with burglary, simple assault and possession of...
Mar 27, 2017 9:00 AMThe advisory warns of mixed snow, sleet, freezing rain for central and northern areas today. A brief period of freezing rain will occur closer...
Mar 25, 2017 7:52 PMA South Carolina man who wrapped electrical tape around a dog's muzzle to stop her from barking has been sentenced to five years in...
Mar 26, 2017 5:59 PMOfficials transported a young child to a local hospital with minor injuries after they allegedly ran into a moving car. (More)
Mar 26, 2017 10:40 AMA Hooksett man faces charges after he allegedly pushed his girlfriend twice and choked her, impeding her breathing. (More)
Mar 26, 2017 12:29 PMChichester Fire and Rescue extinguished a heavy kitchen fire, leading to the death of household pets. (More)
Mar 26, 2017 11:43 AMPolice allegedly found crack cocaine and heroin on a man wanted on an arrest warrant. (More)
Mar 25, 2017 9:34 AMA Tilton felon is facing drug and gun charges after police allegedly saw him slumped over the wheel of his car Saturday around 1...
Mar 24, 2017 5:19 PMWhile executing a search warrant, police seized what is believed to be psilocybin mushrooms, marijuana, and butane honey oil. (More)
Mar 25, 2017 4:30 PMPolice arrested a woman after she left her 2-year-old in her running vehicle while she shopped at Target Saturday. (More)
Mar 25, 2017 2:54 PMThe newly appointed deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee says the Democratic party can't spend all of its energy focusing on Republican President...
Mar 24, 2017 9:33 AMNew Hampshire State Police arrested to wanted fugitives after stopping a van full of people who entered the United States illegally. (More)
Mar 24, 2017 3:59 PMTwo influential members of New Hampshire’s state Senate predict that a bill to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana possession will pass their chamber. (More)
Mar 24, 2017 3:51 PMSnow fell faster than expected today, accumulating a few inches in parts of central and northern New Hampshire through late-afternoon. (More)
Mar 24, 2017 12:39 PMA woman is facing drug charges after being found in possession of heroin during a parole check-in. She was arrested for possession of a...
Mar 23, 2017 4:16 PMState Police rearrested a Wales man for stealing electricity from a Central Maine Power pole and transformer. (More)
Mar 23, 2017 4:59 PMA Stafford County corrections officer allegedly tried bringing thousands of dollars of drugs into the jail was supposed to get deployed. (More)
Mar 24, 2017 11:09 AMIt's the first Friday of spring, but Granite Staters will have some snow to deal with. (More)
Mar 24, 2017 9:02 AMThe effort to crack down on drug-related crimes - known NH-wide as Operation Granite Hammer - led to the arrests of 2 suspected heroin...
Mar 23, 2017 3:02 PMA Keene man was indicted for allegedly strangling two of his then-girlfriend's cats. (More)
Mar 23, 2017 1:28 PMDemocrats filed a complaint with the ethics committee arguing Sununu violated rules against using his position to secure advantages for himself or others. (More)
Mar 22, 2017 5:27 PMNicole Guida, owner of Chic & Unique, a boutique shop located in Littleton, is requesting a jury trial against a former customer who caused...
Mar 22, 2017 6:02 PMA Strafford County corrections officer allegedly attempted to bring heroin into the jail before being detained by police. (More)
Mar 22, 2017 11:01 AMChelsea Blais plead not guilty to abusing children in her care at the Alpha Bits Learning Center, where police say she force fed and...
Mar 22, 2017 10:15 AMNYPD seized over $4.1 million and over three kilograms (6 pounds) of heroin, unraveling a multi-state drug ring — involving New England. (More)
Mar 22, 2017 4:06 PMNew Hampshire is often in the 'weather battle zone' this time of year, which isn't a good thing if you are looking for spring...
Mar 22, 2017 10:45 AMNew Hampshire’s top public officials Wednesday marked the death of state Sen. Scott McGilvray. The first term Democratic state senator from Hooksett and president...
Mar 22, 2017 7:33 AMThe National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory from 10 a.m. Wednesday to midnight. (More)
Mar 21, 2017 10:29 PMA report released on Tuesday by the state agency that licenses childcare centers revealed multiple incidents of verbal and physical abuse committed by a...
Mar 21, 2017 6:40 PMA mother and her friend who injected her with heroin while she was in labor in September 2016 will not be facing felony charges...
Mar 21, 2017 4:09 PMA 74-year-old Mass. man living in public housing for the elderly faces drug trafficking charges after police say they found cocaine valued at about...
Mar 21, 2017 12:09 PMDerry Police say a home was shot at and struck at least 6 times early Tuesday morning, but no one was hurt. (More)
Mar 21, 2017 12:26 PMA woman has been charge with assault against three infants at a Manchester day care center. The three victims are all younger than 1-years-old....
Mar 20, 2017 4:05 PMA man who pleaded guilty to supplying a person in Rochester with a deadly dose of drugs will spend between 8- and 16-years in...
Mar 20, 2017 4:01 PMOnlyInYourState.com has provided nine places in the Granite State where you might be able to spot a ghost. (More)
Mar 20, 2017 2:31 PMPolice are searching for a man who allegedly punched and injured another man at a diner in Manchester. (More)
Mar 20, 2017 3:56 PMA 21-year-old man destroyed his family home after trying to exterminate ants with wooden matches, killing their two cats and a dog. (More)