Since his unsuccessful run for the US Senate last year, Corky Messner has impressed many Republicans in Granite State by becoming the voice of unity and anti-extremism. In a small state where many poles try to avoid stepping on each other’s toes, Messner expressed his belief that the GOP must come together with its candidates and run away from fools.
This is why so many NHGOP insiders have told NHJournal that they are stunned by the announcement of the Senate Candidates Conference scheduled by Messner on Tuesday, a scheme that seems downright insane.
In a bizarre mix of “Mister Smith Goes to Washington” and “House of Cards,” Messner sets up a behind-the-scenes deal between the potential candidates, except he does it on the front page. Voters tend to dislike political deals or the politicians who made them. That’s why political parties invented smoke-filled back rooms in the first place.
Except, as several NHGOP insiders noted to NHJournal, Corky Messner does not work a political party. His meeting is not sanctioned by the NHGOP, and he has no political favors to lose. President Steve Stepanek will not be near the top.
So who will be?
Former disgraced congressman Frank Guinta, for example. His potential candidacy has yet to surpass the level of support from “friends and family”. Businessman Bill Binnie will also be in attendance. He is the “$ 6 Million Dollar Man” of the 2010 election, who finished in third place and with just 19,508 votes. That’s about what it takes to earn a state Race for the Senate in New Hampshire.
And Senate Speaker Chuck Morse, who apparently lost a bet, or may have promised to bring Messner home afterwards.
Otherwise, why would a successful politician and a credible candidate show up at this “worst episode in the ‘dating game’ world”?
WMUR reports that Morse will be present, but don’t be surprised if he inevitably finds himself detained.
Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut and Londonderry City Manager Kevin Smith will not show up on Tuesday. They really want to run for the US Senate. And serious candidates don’t waste time going to meetings so other, less determined candidates may try to dissuade them.
“Anyone who comes forward says ‘I’m not qualified to be the candidate,'” a longtime GOP strategist told NHJournal.
“Corky’s heart is in the right place, but his head is in the-la-land,” added another Republican close to one of the potential candidates.
Listening to Messner make his case on Jack Heath’s Monday radio show, it’s hard not to agree that he wants to do the right thing.
No one disputes that the New Hampshire primary at the end of the year in September – only that of Delaware is later – gives an advantage to incumbents like Senator Maggie Hassan. And Messner is right that rallying the party around a single candidate would make it easier to raise funds for the general election.
Where he is wrong is believing he can convince competitive candidates not to participate in a race against the most vulnerable outgoing Democrat in the US Senate. Asked by Heath if he really believes he can do it, Messner said: “I hope that will happen”,
“I don’t think it’s about dissuading people from it. It’s about people reflecting on themselves intellectually honestly, and focusing on being a team player and doing what’s best for Granite Staters and for the country, ”Messner said. .
Who are these candidates who need to “self-reflect”? Messner didn’t even invite the only Republican already in the race, General Don Bolduc. Is it because of Messner’s lingering personal animosity towards Bolduc from the 2020 primary onwards? Or because he thinks Bolduc’s attacks on Governor Chris Sununu as a “Chinese Communist sympathizer” and ally of the Arabs sponsoring terrorism are putting the general on the sidelines?
Either way, Bolduc is unlikely to withdraw from the race, with or without an invitation. Too many appearances on Steve Bannon’s webcast are waiting for you.
So who is the meeting for? To political insiders who have spoken to NHJournal informally, it’s obvious: it’s all about Binnie.
Is it a coincidence that Binnie made his big announcement to WMUR about a likely race the night before? Or that, as multiple sources told NHJournal, the meeting is being held in Binnie’s office in Manchester?
The rumor that Binnie would have pledged to spend $ 25 million of his own money if NHGOP clears the pitch has spread throughout NHGOP circles. So get the jokes about whether that check ever got in the campaign mail.
But there are people in GOP politics who continue to insist that elections can be won with the brute force of money spent on TV and it looks like Messner is one of them. . If you sincerely believe that the rich person always wins, then it makes sense to help them get rid of the competition. It’s also very possible that Republicans in DC are sending the same “Show me the money” message as well. (In large part because they want to help spend it.)
But in the age of social media, the days of drowning your competition with money are over. Hillary Clinton spent $ 450 million, more than double what Trump spent, losing to him in 2016.
Whatever Binnie’s attributes as a nominee, being the rich guy who tried to intimidate the rest of the pitch into not showing up is hardly a boost for your brand. “Who thinks the ‘Evil Millionaire’ is the right candidate for this race? An NHGOP insider asked.
Corky Messner has already said he doesn’t want to run and will stay out of the race if a credible candidate shows up. It would probably have been better if he had stayed completely out of the race.