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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Scott Brown cuts ties with former Nashua supporter over ‘deeply offensive’ letter

NASHUA – Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown distanced himself Monday from a local supporter who used racial slurs and other profanities in a letter to a New Hampshire Democratic Party staff member.

Charles C. Benzing, a former Merrimack school district bus driver, sent the letter on July 16 after receiving an email seeking campaign contributions from the state Democratic Party, according to a story published online by BuzzFeed Politics. ...

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NASHUA – Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown distanced himself Monday from a local supporter who used racial slurs and other profanities in a letter to a New Hampshire Democratic Party staff member.

Charles C. Benzing, a former Merrimack school district bus driver, sent the letter on July 16 after receiving an email seeking campaign contributions from the state Democratic Party, according to a story published online by BuzzFeed Politics.

Benzing wrote that he deeply resented receiving the email and went on a misogynistic tirade, using sexual profanity to describe the state’s leading female Democrats.

“You and your cohorts are a despicable assemblage of government nipple suckers intent on destroying America for your own personal gain,” Benzing wrote, according to a copy of the letter reprinted by BuzzFeed.

Benzing’s name was included on a long list of Nashua residents who were identified as Brown supporters in a press release sent on July 9. The former Massachusetts senator has been touting his “grassroots support” in the Granite State as he vies for the Republican nomination to challenge U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in the November election.

“The city of Nashua will be critical in this election, and we are grateful to unroll such a strong list of dedicated supporters as we continue building our team and spreading our message across the state,” the press release reads.

Brown’s campaign removed Benzing’s name from the list and severed all ties with him after news about Benzing’s letter to the NHDP surfaced. Brown campaign manager Colin Reed called Benzing’s language – which included epithets for African Americans and people of Hispanic descent – “deeply offensive.”

“We completely disassociate ourselves from this individual,” Reed said.

Benzing is listed as a resident of Kinsley Street in Nashua. He was previously employed as a bus driver for Student Transportation of America, which provides service for School Administrative Unit #26 in Merrimack.

A representative from the company said his employment ended in April.

The letter prompted a sharp rebuke from New Hampshire Democratic Party Communications Director Julie McClain, who confirmed to BuzzFeed that the message was authentic. Benzing declined to comment on whether he was the author when he was reached by The Telegraph Monday.

“If the Democratic party wants to take exception to comments, then they’ve got to look at the substance, not just the surface,” he said. “They’re assuming that I don’t know the difference between a black man and a (racial slur) or a Hispanic and a (racial slur).”

Benzing said he has never met Brown and doesn’t agree with all of Brown’s viewpoints, but hopes to see him defeat Shaheen. Benzing gave similar comments when he was interviewed by a reporter from the Concord Monitor, saying in a March 15 article that he disagrees with Brown’s views on gun rights, and that Brown might not make the strongest case for Republicans.

Benzing said he agreed to back Brown in the Senate race after receiving a phone call from the campaign several weeks ago. He said it was up to Brown to decide whether to continue listing him as a supporter.

“If people hear non-political comments, or political incorrect comments, and they don’t like them and they run for cover, that’s their problem. Not mine,” he said.

Jim Haddadin can be reached at 594-6589 or jhaddadin@nashua
telegraph.com. Also, follow Haddadin on Twitter (@Telegraph_JimH).