Following yet another loss in a special election to fill a vacancy in the State Legislature -the eight loss in ten special elections- and a resounding defeat for incumbent GOP Mayor of Manchester Ted Gatsas, GOP State Chair Jeanie Forrester told one of WMUR’s #BuckleysBoys that “[w]e have worked hard, but have to work harder on getting the base motivated and getting them out to vote.”
The problem with Forrester’s assessment, in my opinion, is that the State GOP is not giving voters much to be motivated about. In the same week that Mayor Gatsas badly lost his rematch with Joyce Craig -because Craig increased her vote total from the prior election by more than 2,000 votes, from 10,021 two years ago to 12,068, while Gatsas’ vote total remained roughly the same- and the GOP lost a special election for State Representative in Manchester’s Ward 8 -the City’s most GOP ward-, the GOP-majority Executive Council funded Planned Parenthood while the education committee of the GOP-majority House failed to pass SB 193, a modest education-choice bill.
While Forrester downplays the GOP’s election losses since November, 2016 by pointing to polling showing that a super-majority of voters approve the direction the State is headed, “right or wrong track” is not viewed as a great predictor of election outcomes. The special election and municipal election results suggest this is the case.
I think the GOP would find it much easier to motivate voters if they use their majorities to pass legislation that the bases supports. Watering down SB 193 is not the way to do this.
And as always the GOP lags far behind the Democrats in terms of identifying likely voters and getting them to the polls. Craig’s margin of victory attests to that.
Forrester has her work cut out for her, given the relative lack of resources the State GOP has compared to the Democrats and given that many of the priorities of the GOP leadership -Medicaid Expansion, green-pork, corporate tax cuts- will not motivate likely GOP voters and may actually do just the opposite.