New Hampshire: Discrepancy in Primary Over Legislator Support

Posted March 31, 2008 at 6:52pm

Former Rep. Jeb Bradley (R) announced last week that three-quarters of 1st district Republicans in the state legislature support him — but a couple of those members appear to actually support his primary opponent.

Bradley, who is running to take back the seat he lost in 2006, said 69 GOP legislators support him. Yet state Reps. Carolyn Brown, Robert Fesh and Sandra Reeves also are listed on the host committees for three separate fundraisers for former state Heath Commissioner John Stephen (R).

In a phone interview Monday, Brown said she endorsed Stephen in the GOP primary but considers Bradley a “longtime friend.” Reeves and Fesh did not respond to an interview request.

A spokesman for Bradley, Periklis Karoutas, said the campaign was unsure about the discrepancy, but had been assured that everyone on the list was committed to Bradley, who he said had spoken to each one of the legislators personally regarding their support.

“Sixty-nine out of 91 or 92 representatives. If in fact (Brown) has decided to cross sides, we’re at 74 percent of legislators,” Karoutas said. “The point is we still have the overwhelming support of the majority of legislators in the district.”

A spokesman for the Stephen campaign, Greg Moore, said he believes the representatives had told Bradley they would support him at some point, but pointed out that Stephen entered the race eight months after Bradley announced his campaign, when many legislators assumed there would not be a GOP primary.

“I hope that Jeb Bradley will be prepared that when we release our list of representatives supporting John, there will be a number of folks from his list,” Moore said.

The GOP winner of the Sept. 9 primary will face Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D) in November. The freshman Congresswoman upset Bradley in 2006 in the tossup district, which comprises the southeastern section of the state.
— Shira Toeplitz