Just in time for International Women’s Day, the Republican Governor’s Associaton (RGA) is ramping up its attack on Molly Kelly, the former New Hampshire state Senator who is expected to run for Governor this fall.
— The RGA (@The_RGA) March 8, 2018
Kelly has not yet officially announced she will run against Republican Gov. Chris Sununu, who is hoping to be re-elected, but she has formed an exploratory committee.
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The RGA is trying to paint Kelly as a “tax hiker” on the thin evidence of three votes she cast during her five terms in the state Senate.
One is a 2014 vote to raise the state’s gasoline tax, and another was her co-sponsorship of a 2013 bill to repeal the state’s education tax credit program, which did not pass anyway.
The Republicans also point out that Kelly voted against a proposed amendment to the state constitution which would have permanently banned a state income tax.
The RGA lumped Kelly together with former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand, who is the only Democrat to have declared a run for governor so far.
“New Hampshire Democrat gubernatorial candidates have made one thing clear to voters this year,” charged the RGA, “if elected they will raise taxes on working families.”
The New Hampshire Democratic Party responded by pointing out that Democrats have won nine of the last 11 special legislative elections.
“This calculated attack proves Republicans know how much trouble they’re in with a candidate as weak as Gov. Sununu,” said NH Democratic Chairman Raymond Buckley, “whose only major accomplishment are passing a concealed carry bill, America’s first voter suppression bill in the Trump era, and a budget that gave $100 million in tax cuts for the wealthiest 3 percent of corporations, instead of freezing tuition, funding the opioid fight or putting a single dollar into workforce development and job training.”
“Unlike Sununu, Marchand and Kelly’s record of delivering for New Hampshire working families speaks for itself,” added Buckley, “and will not be smeared by Washington Republican Party hacks.”
Gov. Sununu, meanwhile, has been put “on notice” by EMILY’s List “because he has repeatedly failed to stand up for Granite State women and families,” Julie McClain Downey, EMILY’s List national director of campaign communications, to WMUR-TV in New Hampshire.
Downey said they are excited that Kelly may run because she is a “proven leader” who “will actually right for working families.”
“Molly is really loved and well-respected,” a Democratic strategist told WMUR, “and she is a strong, pragmatic progressive with a work ethic second to none and deep love for this state.”
Former NH House Speaker Terie Norelli organized GROW PCA last summer to focus on electing women to statewide offices said she has encouraged Kelly to run, calling her ‘exactly the kind of person we need to have in public service these days.”
When Kelly, 68-years-old, first won her Senate seat in 2006, she beat a Republican. She was re-elected four times before deciding not to seek a sixth term in 2016.
Before becoming a Senator, Kelly was chair of the State Commission on the Status of Women from 1998 until 2003, and vice chair of the Healthy New Hampshire Foundation.
In other words, she is the kind of experienced female candidate who can go toe to toe with the male candidates in her party and among the Republicans.
Kelly is among a bumper crop of women running for office across the U.S., almost all of them Democrats inspired by the failures of the Trump administration and the mismanagement and greed of Republicans in states and local communities nationwide.