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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Testerman drops out of US Senate race in NH, backs Smith

CONCORD – Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bob Smith won a high-profile endorsement Friday as Karen Testerman dropped out of the race to support him.

Testerman said after weeks of private talks, she decided to exit the contest to prevent a splintering of the conservative vote that could possibly hand the race to former Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, a social moderate. ...

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CONCORD – Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bob Smith won a high-profile endorsement Friday as Karen Testerman dropped out of the race to support him.

Testerman said after weeks of private talks, she decided to exit the contest to prevent a splintering of the conservative vote that could possibly hand the race to former Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, a social moderate.

“The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again – expecting a different result,” said Testerman, of Franklin. “We must break the patterns of the past in order to win the future.

“At this critical juncture in preparation for the New Hampshire Republican Primary for the U.S. Senate, it is critical that only one principled conservative candidate is listed on the primary ballot.”

Testerman’s move proved to be the highlight of the last day for candidate filing, which ended at 5 p.m. Friday. It did spoil making history in the GOP primary race.

Had Testerman won, she would have been the 11th Republican running for this seat in this election cycle, tying the record set in 1980 when 11 ran for the right to ultimately defeat Sen. John Durkin, D-N.H.

This primary filing season ended with 10 hopefuls.

There are 24 Republicans running for governor, U.S. senator and one of the two seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

There are only six Democrats. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Reps. Annie Kuster and Carol Shea-Porter, all D-N.H., face no primary opposition.

“I’m running for Congress because I want all New Hampshire families to have the same opportunities I had: to get good jobs, access health care, own a home, put away some money for retirement and have a little left over for pizza on Friday night,” said Shea-Porter, who signed up to seek a fourth term Friday morning.

“For too many, the
American dream is slipping away. We need more jobs, workers’ wages
are flat and our tax code favors the wealthiest.’’

Secretary of State Bill Gardner said there’s a good chance the number of candidates running will break the record of more than 1,500 set in 2012.

The leaders of both political parties have until Wednesday afternoon to nominate candidates to fill any vacancies on the ballot.

“We’ll know after Wednesday, but we are ahead of the record pace at this time two years ago,” Gardner said.

The last candidate to sign up Friday was former Concord City Councilor Mike Little, a Republican, running for the 2nd Congressional District seat.

Little, a veteran, said he was moved to get into the race at the eleventh hour because of word a few days ago that insurgents linked to al-Qaida had overrun parts of Iraq.

Smith, a former senator and congressman from New Hampshire, said Testerman’s endorsement offers a big lift, and he predicted political observers are in store for a surprise when he upsets Brown and wins the GOP primary.

“We are going to unseat Jeanne Shaheen, and we are going to win this primary,” Smith said after signing his filing papers in Gardner’s office.

“We are going to surprise everybody. All the pundits – they are going to have a long night on September 9.”

While Testerman hadn’t done well in early polls, she was the only female candidate in the GOP primary.

In her 2010 bid for governor, Testerman received 10 percent of the vote in a four-person race won by John Stephen, of Manchester.

Smith said Testerman made the decision without any political pressure from him.

“We had a lot of talks,” he said. “No one asked the other to get out.

“I think it was Karen, who, to her credit, wanted to make sure we were united.”

Smith and Testerman were the only social and fiscal conservatives running.

Smith dismissed the endorsement of GOP primary rival Jim Rubens by the Republican Liberty Caucus, a fiscally conservative group.

Smith said the group’s leadership made the endorsement to the chagrin of rank-and-file members.

Kevin Landrigan can reached at
321-7040 or klandrigan@nashua
telegraph.com. Also, follow Landrigan on Twitter (@Klandrigan).