Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Visit Blue Hampshire

I'm overdue in saying this, but, together with Keener and Yankee Doodler (who are now known as Mike and Dean), I have started a new soapblox community blog called Blue Hampshire.

Once you register there, you can not only participate in nested comment threads, but post your own diaries. Even though we've yet to do much to publicize it, there are already diaries being posted and lively discussions happening there.

All three of us are from NH-02, but we hope Blue Hampshire really can live up to its name and have coverage of the whole state, so if you're from NH-01 please come and let us know what's going on in your district.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Looking Ahead

From the Journal News of the Lower Hudson Valley, New York:
As a musician who wrote and sang pop hits in the 1970s with the group Orleans, [NY-19 Representative-Elect John] Hall has also been scouting around for ways to express himself musically in the new Congress. He met fellow freshman Paul Hodes, D-N.H., who plays guitar, and suggested they form a group, called Hall and Hodes.
That would be a group I'd have to see.

In a way, I feel oddly like I've been transported back in time to the summer, when just writing about Charlie Bass occasionally got boring but there wasn't yet a lot of news to be had about Paul Hodes unless I went out and saw him myself. Back then, I was thrilled to find two paragraphs about Paul stopping into a new store in Concord and eating some cheese. Now, there's not much point in writing about Charlie Bass - he's pretty much just marking time - and while there's a little more news to be had about Paul Hodes, it's not much.

I can tell you that he voted for Steny Hoyer rather than Jack Murtha for Majority Leader, but since I think that the Majority Leader vote in general was kind of overblown as a news story, and since I had no strong opinion as between Hoyer and Murtha (honestly I didn't think either of them was particularly appealing), it doesn't seem worth much notice.

Mostly right now it's a waiting game. We know a new Congress is coming, but they're not in office yet, so there is little reporting to be done on them. I'll be keeping up with the news, and broadening my focus to include the presidential primary and more New Hampshire state politics, but right now is a bit of a trough as far as any of it goes. So bear with me and more will be happening soon, I promise.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Milford and the Margin of Victory

This is me checking in on my earlier thoughts.

Today's Telegraph has an article about how Milford, and other traditionally Republican towns, were a key to Paul Hodes' victory or Charlie Bass' loss, depending how you look at it. Although Bass won Milford, and Pelham and Hollis and Amherst, he barely did so - by 28, 457, 48, 131. Those towns all gave him solid wins in 2004, and could have helped carry him along this year, but Republicans just didn't show up to vote.

Back in September, I wrote about the Milford Labor Day parade, focusing on how strikingly few people I saw visibly supporting Republicans there. I was hesitant to embrace anecdotal evidence like that, but it did give me some hope. No, Hodes didn't win Milford. That would have signaled a win of truly epic proportions. But he held his own, against expectations.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Victory Blogging

I owe an apology: I've been useless when it came to providing news for the past several days. It just seemed more important to do the work of getting Paul Hodes elected, and while I don't at all want to downplay the importance of having available the kind of information that we have been able to provide here and at NH-02 Progressive and Yankee Doodler - because I do think it had an actual effect on this race in at least a few subtle ways - in the end, it came down to knocking on doors and calling people. And at the end of the day I just didn't have the energy for much else.

Friday I didn't do a whole lot. Helped clean the office, did some visibility at a football game.

Saturday 3 canvasses and some phonebanking.

Sunday 1 and a half canvasses and some phonebanking.

Monday 2 canvasses, some phonebanking, and a late-night lit drop.

Tuesday distributing signs to polling places, phonebanking, canvass, phonebanking. I've made no bones about my hatred of phonebanking, though unless you've known me for a decade or more you probably wouldn't quite get it. As a teenager, the trauma of calling to order something from a catalogue brought me to tears at least once. In college, I routinely got into fights with my housemates over who'd call to order pizza, because I sure wasn't making a phone call to a stranger. I will still spend a good long time looking around for a way to do something online rather than making a phonecall. And Patrick and Toby could tell you that I didn't always phonebank entirely cheerfully this campaign. But today, this was it. It just had to be done.

The canvass was as it grew dark, and we were literally running through the streets, going right up and squinting at mailboxes to see if this was the last house we needed, if this might make the difference. Then we got back and got back on the phones; we were phonebanking as results started coming in, pushing through calls until 15 minutes before the last polls closed, begging people to get out to vote right now because they could make the difference. We kept doing it even when numbers came in that looked good, because you never know how it will go.

And this time, it went right.

Other people got the great pictures of Paul, and I'm sure I'll take advantage of those when they become available. But here are a few of the staff letting the victory soak in.

Patrick and Luke. Patrick's first time as a field director and he won.

Toby and Bethel. Bethel was a summer intern and came back for about a week to help with election stuff. She and I did the late-night lit drop Monday and were hilarious even to ourselves, we were so nervous of being called out as suspicious for going up on people's porches in the dark.

Emily, Brooke, and Torey.

I told you Jane wasn't always so blurry.

Donkey got to come to the victory party.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Whole Lot Going On

Yesterday felt like the calm before the storm at Paul Hodes' campaign headquarters. Today it does feel like the storm is starting, but not in a bad way.

I've done 3 canvasses and a little phonebanking. I'm a little tired. But it feels good - things are rolling here, with volunteers on all the phones and several canvasses going at a time just in Concord alone. And there are staff in several other locations, running more phonebanks and more canvasses.

The picture is last night at dinner at the Barley House in Concord - like I said, the calm before (though that's not to say that it wasn't a serious work day; we went to dinner around 9).

Thursday I diaried at Daily Kos about the new WMUR/UNH poll, which had Hodes leading by 8 points. That's a tracking poll, and last night's results had him up by 13. Waiting for tonight's results. The poll has a large margin of error and I'm assuming that overstates his lead, but it looks good. Meanwhile, the Concord Monitor has a poll that has Bass leading by 1%. I think even less of the Monitor poll than I think of the WMUR/UNH poll, though. Back in mid-September, their poll was a serious outlier, with Hodes down by 25 points. Seriously, Hodes has been catching up, but 24%? (To be clear, my distrust of the current poll is mostly founded on my distrust of the former - I'm too tired to have looked at this very closely.)

Keener's been providing pretty comprehensive coverage of the robocalls the NRCC is running to annoy voters. They start off sounding like they support Paul Hodes, and they come repeatedly. So anyone who hangs up early, before it turns into an attack on Paul, thinks the repeated, annoying calls are coming from his campaign. It's a clear suppression tactic. The Hodes campaign and the New Hampshire Democratic Party have done well getting some coverage showing this for the dirty trick that it is, but it's a continuing battle, and people have been calling the campaign office irate at the calls they think they're getting from us. (Although it is fun to tell them what's really going on and tell them to call the Bass campaign about it, or file a complaint with the attorney general.) Let everyone you know in the district that this is going on.

But in actual life, it's sort of a blur of, canvass partner shows up and I go out canvassing. Come in, breathe a few minutes, go out again, come in, breathe, make some phone calls, stop to quiver and moan about being tired. The internet was out here for most of the afternoon, which was an adventure. It felt like I was at the Lieberman campaign or something for a while there.

I think Patrick's look in this picture pretty much sums it up:

Friday, November 03, 2006

WMUR/UNH Poll Gives Hodes 8-Point Lead.

All of the caveats that have applied to every other UNH poll apply - the sample size is slightly larger and the margin of error correspondingly lower, but it's still a small sample and a big MoE.

But yes, in this poll Paul Hodes leads Charlie Bass 45% to 37%, nearly reversing their positions in the September WMUR/UNH poll. The poll results are here (PDF).

Looking good. Now we just have to work our butts off for a few more days and hopefully we'll have a new member of Congress.

And speaking of working our butts off, you should be doing that if you're in the district. There will be non-stop phonebanking and canvassing pretty much until the polls close on Tuesday. Call 603 223 2006 or email Patrick.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Rally with Paul Hodes and Gov. John Lynch

Friday, November 3
10:15 AM

The Hunt Building
6 Main Street
Nashua, New Hampshire

Late-Night Photos

Field director Patrick doesn't like it when people leave their things on his desk, which is centrally located and close to the fridge, so people do tend to leave things there. Dana demonstrated his deep affection for Patrick by bringing him the gift of all these nice cups and bottles. (Pat: "Don't leave all these coffe cups on my desk!" Dana: "They're not coffee cups, Patrick. They're tea cups.")

Press secretary Reid starts to debrief on his day, starts up the stairs, remembers something else, and finishes the story of his day from the stairs.

Dana gives Reid his rapt attention.

Photoblogging: Campaign Office

Back at the office, Charlie and Kaili phonebank.

I spent a couple hours this evening phonebanking, and got a few good responses. I also got royally yelled at by a crotchety old man who thinks that political calling is un-American and destroys democracy and that I should get a real job (Me: "Actually, sir, I'm a volunteer.") and also, for some reason, an education. Probably my favorite call, though, was to the woman who when I asked how she was doing, said, somewhat dubiously, that she was fine. When I said something like "great," she kind of gasped and said "you're a real person!" She'd gotten so many robocalls that she assumed that's what I was. It actually kind of affirmed my desire to start calls by saying "My name is Laura and I'm a real live person volunteering for the Paul Hodes for Congress campaign."

If you like slight, semi-pretty preppy boys, deputy campaign manager Luke is really fairly handsome. Here he makes himself look bizarre and accusatory. I figure he brought it on himself and can just live with having it posted.

Jane is the scheduler. She's not really blurry in real life.

Dave is the finance director. In the foreground is his tiki god. I'm not sure I fully comprehend the set of practices with regard to the tiki god, but it seems in some way to be responsible for the campaign's financial status.

Dana is the campaign manager. I can't think how to elaborate on that.

Emily also lives in this area of the office, but for various reasons the pictures I took of her are not very usable.

Canvassing with Toby

This afternoon I did some canvassing with Toby, pictured here. Mostly people aren't home in the middle of the afternoon and you leave literature, but there was one amazing encounter. We split up a street and I went off to do my houses while Toby crossed over to a woman mowing her lawn. I finished my houses and they were still talking, so I went over. It turns out that the woman had begun the conversation by saying that she was a Republican and a born-again Christian and liked George Bush because she thought he was a good Christian. But Toby got her talking and the more they talked, the more her dissatisfaction with the state of the country came out. They covered the economy, health care, abortion, congressional pay raises and the minimum wage. And as we left her, she was saying she would vote for Paul Hodes. It was wonderful - so few people really want to talk about the issues like that, let alone people who enter the conversation assuming they prefer the other party. And talking people around like that? Just wow. It really makes you feel good about what you're doing.

In other Toby news, I apparently look like a cradle robber. When we stopped for lunch, the hostess at the restaurant asked if we were on our honeymoon. Random!

Telegraph Endorses Paul Hodes

Adding its voice to the Concord Monitor, Keene Sentinel, and Valley News, the Nashua Telegraph endorsed Paul Hodes. Notably, the Telegraph endorsed Bass in 2004.

The endorsement says
We recommend Hodes over the Republican incumbent not only for his positions – thoughtful and realistic – but also for his ability and willingness to present his ideas in a clear, straightforward and unflinching manner.
There are several reasons we have changed our position on these two candidates this time around. In part, we think Hodes has grown considerably as a candidate since the last time we saw him, and believe he has honed the skills necessary to be an effective legislator in Washington.

At the same, we believe that in recent years, Bass has let the 2nd District down in one of the most basic duties of a member of the House of Representatives: holding the two other branches of government accountable, especially the executive branch.