Republican presidential hopefuls are not the only ones trying to leverage the Tea Party to their advantage: Democrats are using the powerful, amorphous movement to rally their base.
“Those folks have given us a tremendous gift, if not an obvious one,” , a former state senator from Barrington, said Saturday at the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s Mid-term Convention in Concord.
She, and party chairman Raymond Buckley, used a broad stroke to lump the in with Free Staters, the John Birch Society, and the Koch Brothers.
The Democrats’ other villain? New Hampshire House Speaker Bill O’Brien, R-Mont Vernon.
Former Senate Majority Leader , an Exeter Democrat considering running for governor, portrayed the first-term House Speaker as out-of-touch with everyday Granite Staters.
"Bill O'Brien is looking at the ladder that people have used to work their way up to the middle class for decades and he is snapping every rung,” Hassan said in remarks at the convention.
Former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand, who is considering a run for governor, said his party must fight for jobs, worker rights, education, and its core values. He earned some cheers when he said the next governor must avoid what the called a political morass, “and that is The Pledge” to veto a broad-based tax - like a state income or sales tax.
The Democrats’ convention also heard from those running for one of New Hampshire’s two seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Joanne Dowdell, a Portsmouth resident running in the 1st District, said she is running for Congress because Washington politicians are making life harder for families in New Hampshire and across the country.
“We can’t slash and burn our way to prosperity,” she said. “Frank Guinta and his cronies in Washington are not getting the job done.”
Andrew Hosmer, a Laconia resident running in the 1st District, bemoaned what he called an assault on the middle class.
“The majority in Congress has been hijacked by the Tea Party express," said Hosmer.
Carol Shea-Porter, the former congresswoman who lost to Guinta in 2010, accused the Republican of doing nothing for the middle class, education, and military men and women.
“They have insulted the middle class,” she said, “and now they’re trying to end the middle class.”
Annie Kuster, a Democrat from Hopkinton, also spoke of protecting the middle class. She seeks a rematch with , the Republican incumbent in the 2nd District. In her remarks Saturday in Concord, she said her priority remains the same: Jobs.