CONCORD, NH — Less than a week before Democrats, Republicans, and indies vote in New Hampshire, the primary race between two Concord attorneys and fathers seeking the Democrat's nomination for governor is very tight — while the incumbent appears to be cruising to an easy primary and possible general election victory, according to the latest polling.
The latest Granite State Poll, conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, released Tuesday shows District 2 Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky with a 2 percent lead over state Sen. Dan Feltes. The sampling of 839 likely Democrat primary voters is within the margin of error, about 3.4 percent. But what is even more surprising is the huge number of undecided voters: 22 percent.
On the Republican side, incumbent Gov. Chris Sununu holds a 65-plus point lead over challenger Karen Testerman, a Franklin city councilor. Nobody, otherwise known as the marijuana activist Rich Paul, received 1 percent of the 703 likely Republican primary voters.
Sununu, who has consistently been ranked as one of the most popular governors in the United States, posted a 55 percent favorability rating — down about 5 points from earlier this year, his peak. Only 21 percent of those polled ranked him unfavorably.
In a head-to-head race, less than nine weeks before the general election, Sununu has a 26 point lead over Volinsky and a 24 point lead over Feltes with Darryl Perry, the Libertarian candidate, receiving 1 percent of the vote.
Irene Lin, the campaign manager for Volinsky, said the polling numbers should that, despite being outspent, voters were "clearly responding to Andru Volinsky’s message that now is the time for bold ideas and courageous leadership to take on the disastrous Trump-Sununu agenda."
To view the full poll, visit the UNH Survey Center website here.
More Money Or More Donations?
The duel between Feltes and Volinsky is not just happening in polls or their recent debate on WMUR-TV (linked here, if you missed it) — it is also happening in the money race.
Volinsky's campaign said its latest financial report filing "smashes fundraising records" by receiving contributions from 12,171 individuals since launching his campaign last year. The campaign raised $615,482.35.
Feltes' campaign said Wednesday it raised $1,082,216 and had five times as much cash-on-hand as Volinsky and is in a better financial position than former state Sen. Molly Kelly in 2018 and Colin Van Ostern in 2016 were at the same time during their campaigns.
Kuster Backs Feltes
U.S. Rep. Ann McLane Kuster also threw her support behind Feltes Wednesday.
"We believe in the long-standing New Hampshire tradition of privacy and less government interference in people’s personal lives, including when and whether to bear a child," she said. "That’s why I am endorsing Dan Feltes for Governor. Across the United States, the reproductive rights of women are under attack. Far-right extremists are determined to turn back the clock on the hard-fought progress we have made. We need Dan Feltes as governor to support women’s autonomy and reproductive rights."
Feltes said he was honored to have the endorsement.
Candidates: WMUR Blackout Is Wrong
At least two candidates are fighting mad that they have been blacked out from the "Granite State debates" on WMUR-TV — with one filing an Federal Communications Commission complaint and a lawsuit.
Both Andy Martin, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, and Eli Clemmer, a Republican running in the 2nd Congressional District race, have filed complaints with the state's only television station about being blacked out.
Martin, who has been on the ballot in some way, shape, or form during the last five election cycles, filed an "emergency complaint for enforcement action" to the FCC Monday after being excluded for the station's debate between former Gen. Don Bolduc and Corky Messner. A fourth candidate, Gerard Deloin, was also not invited to participate.
"The licensee is currently in some sort of undisclosed arrangement with St. Anselm College, which has claimed to have conducted a poll," Martin said to the FCC. "Once again, my name was entirely omitted from the poll. It is basic polling practice that when a candidate’s name is entirely omitted from a poll, that poll is invalid as to that candidate."
Martin said New Hampshire was a small state so removing a candidate’s name from a poll is "very bizarre behavior and presumptively suspicious."
A lot of media companies have said in the past that if there are too many candidates running, the moderators cannot control the process and candidates. But, Martin noted, two years ago, there were many Democrats running for the 1st Congressional District race — and all of them were allowed to participate.
Clemmer, a Berlin school teacher, said he had been attempted to contact Adam Sexton, the station's political reporter, about getting access to the airwaves — to no avail.
"New Hampshire’s Republicans deserve the right to be accurately informed in selecting their candidate for November’s general election," he said, adding that "as a supporter of fair elections," he has consistently "spoken against censorship, unethical media, and the establishment rigging of elections."
Martin also pointed to "WMUR-TV's monopoly status" as the only television station in the market and accused station management as well as Hearst company officials of being unfair.
On Aug. 28, Martin also filed suit in superior court in Strafford County against UNH, Hearst, St. Anselm College, Sexton and John Distaso, and others accusing them of rigging polls and defrauding the public.
While he will still be on the ballot, Clemmer said Wednesday he was asking supporters to vote for Steve Negron in the primary.
Matthew Bjelobrk of Haverhill is also on the ballot in the 2nd Congressional District ballot for Republicans.
Martin ran for president in the first-in-the-nation primary in 2012, receiving 19 votes, and 2016, where he earned 169 votes. He ran for Senate in 2014 and received less than 750 votes. Martin also ran for Congress in 2018, where he earned around 2,100 votes.
Sexton did not return an email or phone call requesting comment about the makeup of the station's debates.
Did You Miss Bolduc Vs. Messner?
View it here on YouTube.com.
Sheriff Candidate Caught Up In Sign Flap
One of the Democrats running for the Merrimack County sheriff's position has run into some issues with the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office due to the lack of disclaimers on his political signs.
David Croft, one of three candidates running for the seat, failed to put an acknowledgment on his political signs explaining who paid for the sign, a fiscal agent, or a website where that information can be accessed, which is required in the state of New Hampshire on all political information. The attorney general's office opened an investigation into the lack of a disclaimer in mid-July after receiving complaints about the lack of information on the signs.
According to Richard Tracy, an election investigator, Croft was warned about the issue. In a letter obtained by Patch, Tracy said Croft agreed to address the issue.
However, more signs appeared around the county and none of them had disclaimers. After more complaints were filed two weeks later, stickers began to appear on some Croft signs — but many more never received the stickers.
According to a spot check by Patch, not long after the stickers went up on some signs, all the information was washed away from the stickers due to rain.
Through the month of August, more signs appeared without stickers — including outside of businesses and organizations who do business with the county, too.
Three weeks ago, Tracy spoke with Croft's fiscal agent about the issue and was told the campaign was continuing to work on fixing the sign issue. According to Tracy though, more complaints were filed and more signs found without the required information.
On Aug. 14, Tracy wrote to the campaign again and said, "We encourage you to use all reasonable platforms to locate and correct any remaining signs that do not comply with RSA 664:14."
Two weeks later, more signs appeared around the city and many of them did not have the required information.
When asked about the sign violation and the lack of compliance, Croft said he was aware of the situation and he was trying to "ensure they all get addressed." A new order of signs, he said, "came back correctly from the printer."
Two other Democrats running for sheriff, Michael Labrecque and Keith Mitchell, have signs adhering to the statute.
Everyone understands that it is very busy to run a campaign and in New Hampshire, most candidates work other jobs, too, while they are running for office. But aren't repeated warnings that appeared to have been ignored and more and more signs being put out that are not in compliance with the state statute a bit worrisome — especially for a candidate who wants to be sheriff?
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