Shaheen and Messner trade blows on proposed clean elections agreement

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Jeanne Shaheen (left) and Corky Messner

CONCORD, N.H. and BEDFORD, N.H. – Corky Messner, the Republican Nominee for New Hampshire’s U.S. Senate seat this fall, rejected half of a “clean elections agreement” posed by Democratic Nominee and incumbent Senator Jeanne Shaheen, agreeing to the rest and adding two amendments back to Shaheen.

The original request posed by Shaheen included the following items

  • Putting up 50 percent of any 527, 501(c), SuperPAC, national party, state party or other third party advertisements on behalf of or against a candidate toward a charity of the opposing candidates’ choice.
  • The candidates will work together to limit the influence of third-party advertisements and close any loopholes that arise during the campaign.
  • Agreement not to engage in illegal tactics such as voter suppression or foreign interference or solicit such support from third parties.

Messner’s campaign refused to agree toward putting up 50 percent of any third party advertisements toward charity. They also refused to work with the Shaheen campaign toward closing loopholes and limiting influence of third parties but said they would work toward that end independently.

The Messner Campaign added an item prohibiting monetary support from individuals or entities out of the state of California and acknowledging that Shaheen and Gordon P.A. allegedly misappropriated Payroll Protection Program funding to make a donation to Black Lives Matter and buy illegal campaign advertisements.

“The original agreement proposed by Senator Jeanne Shaheen was an unserious political stunt that has been tried by Democratic Candidates in New Hampshire many times before. Candidly, Shaheen knew Messner would not sign the agreement as she presented it,” said Senior Messner Campaign Adviser Mike Biundo. “Corky takes the issue of fair and free elections very seriously, which is why he signed an amended agreement that includes provisions to ensure that candidates agree not to solicit the support of adversarial foreign third parties to promote or support the Candidates or the Candidates’ campaigns.”

The announcement from the Messner Campaign came shortly after a press conference held by Shaheen with former U.S. Ambassador Jim Smith, former State Senator Rick Russman (R-Kingston) and State Senator Melanie Levesque (D-Brookline).

“New Hampshire voters deserve leaders focused on making a difference for them, and clean campaigns focused on the urgent issues affecting them,” said Shaheen. “Running a clean campaign means standing strong and opposing endless attack ads paid for by dark money groups, illegal attempts to suppress the vote, and foreign interference from our enemies. This is about standing up for our democracy, for the people of New Hampshire, and making sure their voice is heard in this election.”

UPDATE 4:38 p.m. 9/14/20: Shaheen campaign manager Harrell Kirstein issued a response after the response from the Messner campaign.
Based on Messner’s response, he has no intention of running a clean campaign. Every candidate for U.S. Senate should be committed to blocking dark money groups from drowning out Granite State voices, yet Messner is proposing a phony watered down agreement that would allow unlimited, secretive spending. These agreements have historically been bipartisan, and it should concern all Granite Staters to see Messner refusing to sign Senator Shaheen’s Clean Elections Agreement and opening up our state to this type of dark money spending and dirty tricks.
UPDATE: 9/14/20 6:51 p.m. – Messner for Senate senior campaign senior advisor Michael Biundo responded with a statement regarding Shaheen’s Monday morning press conference, inferring that her pledge is hypocritical given the third-party groups who have benefited her in previous campaigns.
“Senator Shaheen is a professional politician that has perfected the art of talking out of both sides of her mouth,” said Biundo. “The special interests in Washington have propped up her political career, and no phony pledge stunt is going to change that fact.” 
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Born and raised in the Granite State, Andrew Sylvia has written approximately 10,000 pieces over his career for outlets across Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. On top of that, he's a licensed notary and license to sell property, casualty and life insurance, he's been a USSF trained youth soccer and futsal referee for the past six years and he can name over 60 national flags in under 60 seconds according to that flag game app he has on his phone, which makes sense because he also has a bachelor's degree in geography (like Michael Jordan). He can also type over 100 words a minute on a good day.