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Corky’s “Disastrous” Confab is an “Early Christmas Present” for Dems, Won’t Stop the Inevitable

Colorado Corky’s attempt to anoint a Republican Senate nominee at a closed door meeting yesterday ended in complete failure — and put the deep divisions among New Hampshire Republicans on full display. Two of the major potential Senate candidates didn’t even show up to Messner’s meeting yesterday and the only declared candidate in the race wasn’t invited. The chaotic and messy meeting has already been called an “early Christmas present” for Democrats and the optics “were not great” for Republicans. Even Republican Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley criticized Corky’s Confab this morning, saying “I don't think it is good for the process” and “it doesn't work in any case. The failure to consolidate the Republican field comes as Governor Sununu himself predicts “a robust primary” and WMUR reports that there is the potential for a Republican primary that produces “a lot of bloodletting.” Read more:

  • Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser: “The Republicans want to try to avoid a wide open primary, though the Governor, in a Bloomberg interview, Governor Sununu said that they will have a pretty wide open primary. But again, I just think the optics for the meeting were not great.”

  • Steinhauser: “The optics were not great and it handed the Democrats, like, an early Christmas present, which could have been avoided. People, will people remember this down the road? Probably not. But right now we're all talking about this and it gives the Democrats some ammunition, at least temporarily."

  • Chris Ryan: “But what was your sense about Corky's intent there? And do you think this is a good idea to try to consolidate the field down to a particular candidate to run against Don Bolduc in the primary, and then hopefully for those candidates Maggie Hassan in the general election?”

  • Sen. Jeb Bradley: “Look, having run for Congress four times and every time had a primary of one kind or another, two were very contentious primaries, as a candidate, you would love to clear the field. There is no question about that. Is it good for the process? No, I don't think it is good for the process. It doesn't work in any case, generally speaking.”

  • Chris Sununu: “I think you’re going to have a very robust Republican year.”

WMUR Political Director Adam Sexton:The potential is there for, you know, a lot of bloodletting to happen if it's a competitive primary from now until September. But what do you think is going on right now? We thought maybe we would see somebody jump in quickly. Time is of the essence here. I mean, I know it's a favorable Republican year, but these are a lot of folks who don't have name recognition. Where are the candidates?”

  • Fox News’s Paul Steinhauser: “This is just disastrous for the New Hampshire GOP. It just stinks of like, backroom deals and anti-democracy. And it just-- it doesn't--the optics are bad, I think, for the Republicans here in New Hampshire. [...] the optics just look bad. It's not like the public is going to be in this meeting. It's not like it's going to be live streamed so people can see what's going on [...] Yeah, it's going to be a closed door meeting it just--the Democrats already had a field day with this, and it's only going to continue.”

  • NH Today’s Chris Ryan: “But again, how is this going to work out? Like if you're Kevin Smith, and you're sitting across from from Frank Guinta and Frank says, 'I want to run' and you're going to be like 'I guess I'm not running because we got to get behind Frank,' or is it going to be like, as I said before, the scene in the Pirates of the Caribbean, the second one, that Keith Richards is in, where all the pirates are sitting around the table and they've never been able to get parlay because each pirate always votes for himself, so there's never been a pirate leader. So is Corky going to be basically the guy who says, 'Hey, everybody voted for themselves. I'm picking this person' like, I don't know how it's all going to work.”

  • NH Today’s Justin McIsaac asked UNH’s Dante Scala: “How do you see something like this playing out, do you think it’s possible that the white smoke will emerge and there to be one candidate, or is the room not big enough for all the egos that will come together and feel they’re the best candidate?”

  • UNH’s Dante Scala: “[...] I would really like to be a fly on the wall and listen to how this conversation goes and measure the degree of awkwardness in the room as all these wannabe candidates basically stall.”

  • McIsaac: “[...] it does strike me as some sort of thing 50, or 60 years ago would happen in a smoke-filled room, with no one really knowing about, right down to the fact that there are no women involved in this process.”


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