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Thursday | October 17, 2002

Smith backers causing mischief in NH

I was wondering whether the Smith write-in effort in New Hampshire was still going strong, or whether Republican voters were finally getting behind GOP candidate Sununu. Well, the Washington Times answers my question and more.

The White House and national Republican strategists have been counting heavily on a win in New Hampshire as part of their overall strategy for retaking the Senate.

But three groups of Smith supporters are posing what may be a fatal political problem for Mr. Sununu.

"If 20,000 or 30,000 disgruntled Smith supporters sit out the election or cast write-in ballots for Smith or stick their finger in our eye by voting for Shaheen that could make the difference in a close election like this," one party source said.

One group is made up of liberal Republicans who supported Mr. Smith because of his strong environmental stands, despite his equally strong opposition to abortion and gun control.

"The second group consists of independents: blue-collar Joes, Pat Buchanan types and maybe some labor-union guys who can't stand Sununu because they perceive him as a blue blood," said a New Hampshire campaign operative.

The third group consists of "anybody but Sununu" Smith loyalists, including gun-rights advocates.

With Dem candidate Shaheen showing slight leads in the latest spate of polls, Sununu can't afford to lose any votes to this intra-party squabble. I've been monitoring the New Hampshire papers, but haven't seen a concerted effort by Sununu to bring these disaffected Smith Republicans into the fold. And Smith is doing absolutely nothing to put a halt to these efforts on his behalf. It could be fatal to Republicans, handing Shaheen the seat and eliminating any GOP hopes to retake the Senate.

Posted October 17, 2002 07:58 AM | Comments (4)





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