It Was a Weird Week in New Hampshire Politics

On primary day, solve your apathy for politics with some strange headlines from the New Hampshire Senate race.

Polls are open for the primary in Massachusetts today, and reports suggest we’re all feeling a little politically apathetic—to the tune of a predicted 15 to 20 percent voting rate.

It could be that non-voters are just wracked with indecision. Or maybe they didn’t realize the Republicans actually had primaries for House elections (a foolish assumption, as David Bernstein writes.) Or perhaps the governor’s race just hasn’t caught their collective fancy.

To reinvigorate their interest in the art of politicking, we note that there is a land where elections are strange and interesting this week. It is a land called New Hampshire, a northern granite-speckled land to which our own former Senator Scott Brown migrated to challenge Senator Jeanne Shaheen for her seat in November. They’ve already had an interesting week as far as “not the Onion” headlines go.

On Monday, Brown made a campaign appearance where he was introduced by Chris Sununu, a New Hampshire executive council member and son of former governor John Sununu. The introduction wasn’t exactly “on message,” if “on message” means underplaying Brown’s former life in Massachusetts. Sununu told the story of a voter who met Brown. Here’s the Washington Post transcription:

He said, “I always thought Scott was kind of a phony from Massachusetts.” And I said, you gotta sit down with him, because — he sat down, they had their little conversation, he walked away. You know what he said? He goes, “That guy was — he’s not a — he’s a phony from New Hampshire that just happened to live in Massachusetts for a little while. He’s more New Hampshire than most people we have in New Hampshire.”

The Post deemed this “the worst introduction ever,” probably because, though it was probably meant as a laugh line, it suggests that Brown’s credentials as a “real New Hampshire resident” matter more than his having any compelling qualities as a non-phony.

Meanwhile, Shaheen, like fellow New Englander Peter Griffin, has a giant chicken stalker. Back in August, a man in a giant chicken suit followed Shaheen around a parade with a sign reading, “Jeanne Shaheen is too chicken for a town hall.” His clucking got him arrested for disorderly conduct. But if Shaheen hoped the law might relieve her of this very bizarre photobomber forever, she was wrong. The charges against the chicken, known off-hours as New Hampshire GOP staffer Michael Zona, were dropped, reports, and the chicken lives to stalk another day.

Politics. It’s an important thing fueled by issues other than grace under antagonistic chicken fire and eloquent campaign event introductions, but those things do keep it zesty. But of course, you could still do your part when it gets serious, read up on the candidates, and vote, even if it’s here in phony old Massachusetts.