NRCC Raps Frosh for Silence on Party Election

Posted March 23, 2007 at 10:50am

Freshman Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D) is trying to stay out of the limelight, but the National Republican Congressional Committee certainly sees opportunity in an ongoing controversy surrounding the candidate she endorsed to lead the New Hampshire Democratic Party.

Ray Buckley is the leading candidate to replace outgoing Chairwoman Kathleen Sullivan, but he has been besieged by false allegations and embarrassing revelations.

Buckley was cleared of the claim made by a former roommate and Republican state lawmaker that he possessed child pornography.

But then a clip of video footage taken as many as 12 years ago surfaced on YouTube.com. In it Buckley is seen swearing and making vulgar comments. Spliced in are pictures of a social-network Web site Buckley belongs to called “Gays in New Hampshire.”

Buckley is not accused of any wrongdoing, but the Republican behind the video posting points out that some members of the network are younger than 18.

Rep. Paul Hodes, Shea-Porter’s fellow freshman Democrat from the Granite State, issued a statement last week saying he no longer backs Buckley for the party post.

That angered many New Hampshire Democrats — Gov. John Lynch (D) still supports Buckley — and put Shea-Porter in a bind.

She has refused to comment on the situation, and the state party election is Saturday, leaving her open to criticism from the NRCC.

“She did have a private conversation with Ray Buckley and she feels that she cannot make that private conversation public,” said Harry Gural, Shea-Porter’s chief of staff.

Shea-Porter, who was a dark-horse candidate both in the 1st district Democratic primary and in her matchup with then-Rep. Jeb Bradley (R) in 2006, is a top NRCC target.

The NRCC already is raising questions about her silence and no doubt will use it against her next year if anything more damning about Buckley surfaces.

As to whether Shea-Porter is concerned that the Buckley matter could hurt her re-election chances, Gural said: “We’re really not thinking about it yet.”
— Nicole Duran