Former President Bill Clinton and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul were two of the political heavy hitters to visit New Hampshire this week on behalf of incumbents and challengers in the Nov. 4 election.
Ostensibly, at least, Clinton was here to boost the Democratic ticket that includes incumbent Gov. Maggie Hassan, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter in the 1st Congressional District, and U.S. Rep. Ann Kuster in the 2nd CD.
And Paul was here to rally the Republican base on behalf of the slate of GOP challengers: Walt Havenstein for governor, Scott Brown for U.S. Senate, Frank Guinta in the 1st CD, and Marilinda Garcia in the 2nd CD.
But underneath the surface of these campaign visits is stage-setting for the 2016 presidential election with Paul making no secret of his ambitions on the GOP side and Clinton serving as the surrogate for wife Hillary, who many suspect will run in 2016. She is expected in the Granite State on Nov. 2.
Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was also back in New Hampshire, here on behalf of Brown.
Clinton, at a Democratic dinner in Manchester on Thursday night, warned of a repeat of 2010 - when the Democrat majority was swept from Congress -- if Democratic voters don’t get out and vote in November. See a Concord Monitor story here
Paul, in remarks during a campaign stop in Salem, noted the negative coattail effects of President Barack Obama. “We have a great recruiter and he lives in the White House,” said Paul. “Everything he does turns to stone. He can’t do anything right.” See a Union Leader story here
Other presidential aspirants have also been on the stump for statewide candidates: Florida Sen. Marco Robion, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Vice President Joe Biden, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, and New York financier Donald Trump.
No matter the outcome on Nov. 4, win or lose, Republican or Democrat, they will all be back in preparation for 2016.
As a public service for the upcoming election, the LFDA is offering a NH voter guide app, It’s free. It’s comprehensive, and its available for both Apple and Android devices. See more information here
Follow the money
Various campaigns reported on their finances this week. Here are some of the highlights:
On the decline
- Shea-Porter collected more in this reporting period than challenger Guinta. See a Seacoast Online story here;
- Kuster has more money than Garcia. See a Concord Monitor story here;
- Hassan raised more money than Havenstein this quarter, but Havenstein still has more cash on hand. See a Concord Monitor story here.
Gas prices are dropping across the state, falling below $3 a gallon at some service stations, the first time that’s happened in years. Analysts say a price war among Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq caused prices to drop substantially, helped by a boost in production in the United States.
The unemployment rate is also down. The New Hampshire Employment Security office says the state's unemployment rate for September was 4.3 percent, down a tenth of a percentage point from August.
Two people in the state have died from Eastern Equine Encephalitis. This week we learned a third Granite Stater is sick with EEE.
The state said this week as much as 60 percent of the deer in the state carry the Lyme tick. New Hampshire had the nation's third-highest rate of Lyme disease in 2011. See a WMUR story here.
Hospitals in the state are making a point to media and the public that they are prepared for the possibility of treating an Ebola case. Elliot Hospital in Manchester explained its procedures for WMUR
Here are some of the topics of discussion over on Facebook
: Property tax exemptions for churches, mental health care as a priority in New Hampshire, and whether climate change is an issue in this year’s election. Join in. Oh, and you have an opportunity to win tickets to a Boston Celtics game. See you next week.