Nashua’s Horn brings it home



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Jennifer Horn, who in her first political campaign touted her everyday experiences as a mother of five children as a reason to serve in Congress, just moved a step closer to Capitol Hill. On Tuesday, Horn narrowly topped state Sen. Bob Clegg and bested three other candidates in the Republican 2nd Congressional District primary and will now challenge Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Paul Hodes in the Nov. 4 election. As she did in the summer-long primary campaign, Horn attacked Hodes in her victory speech, calling him a token of the Washington establishment. “This Congress has failed the American people, and Paul Hodes has failed the families of New Hampshire,” Horn said at her celebration party held at the Courtyard by Marriott hotel in Nashua. “It is time for a new approach, a new voice, a new way of doing things.” With more than 80 percent of the tally counted, Horn received more than 11,000 votes, or about 40 percent compared to Clegg’s 9,600 votes, or about 34 percent. Attorney Jim Steiner came in third with 14 percent of the votes, former Senate staffer Grant Bosse came in fourth with 9 percent, and engineer Alfred L’Eplattenier last with 2 percent. Clegg - a Hudson resident with a lengthy political record as a state senator, state representative and town selectman - had the backing of former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. He campaigned on his political experience and roots as a blue-collar worker. Clegg waited until after 11 p.m. to call Horn to concede the race and congratulate her on the victory. Clegg said he wouldn’t have done anything differently in his campaign. The 14-year veteran of the state Senate said he simply told people his thoughts on big issues like the war in Iraq and drilling for oil in Alaska and left it up to voters whether they agreed. “I can accept the fact that not everyone agrees with me,” he said. He said low voter turnout certainly affected the race and said the sudden popularity of vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin may have given Horn, a mother of five, a boost. “I don’t think it hurt,” he said. “The country is looking for something new.” Both candidates won their home towns; Horn swamped Clegg in Nashua, 2,130 to 950, while Clegg took Hudson, 638 to 238. Otherwise, the Nashua region was a tossup, with Horn winning Amherst big and Milford by a hair, and Clegg easily taking Pelham and Litchfield, and just barely winning Brookline. Horn, a former Sunday Telegraph columnist and radio talk-show host, has run as the candidate with an ear to the ground: touting the need for affordable college tuition, health insurance needs and energy costs. The 44-year-old positions herself as a fresh face to represent the district - the same platform Hodes used to defeat six-term Republican incumbent Charles Bass in 2006. She also promotes herself as a fiscally conservative counter to Hodes. In her victory speech, she said Hodes has raised taxes while voting against energy independence and improving veterans’ benefits. She wants to tighten laws in an attempt to curb illegal immigration, favors bringing “all ideas to the table” to restructure health insurance, and thinks the U.S. military shouldn’t leave Iraq until the country is secure. Reached by telephone, Bosse said he was proud of his campaign and would now support Horn because he believes Republicans have the better ticket. “I knew whomever won was going to be the underdog against an incumbent who has a million dollars,” he said of Hodes’ campaign war chest. Steiner didn’t return a phone call Tuesday night seeking comment. And L’Eplattenier has declined to answer The Telegraph’s repeated attempts for comment this primary. Shortly before the polls closed at Amherst Street Elementary School in Nashua, a few voters revealed why Horn earned their support. “She seemed down to earth,” James Helie said. By late summer, it became apparent that some of the candidates considered Horn a serious threat. At a candidates forum in Nashua last month, Clegg at one point acknowledged the other “gentlemen” on the stage but didn’t mention the only woman. And Bosse repeatedly challenged Horn’s positions in press releases and at events, claiming she ran only on “platitudes and talking points” and lacked substance. If a Web site is a measure of a candidate’s readiness, Horn’s site listed only two issues in early August; it now features 10. Horn deflected Bosse’s attacks and challenged Clegg on his belief that only a politically experienced candidate should serve in Congress. Clegg said Tuesday he wouldn’t return to the state Senate. His term is over, and he said he wouldn’t run again. He didn’t know what the future would hold for him in terms of politics. He joked he would have to start mowing his own lawn again. Albert McKeon can be reached at 594-5832 or amckeon@nashuatelegraph.com. Joseph Cote can be reached at 594-6415 or jcote@nashuatelegraph.com. U.S HOUSE 2ND DISTRICT >>>Republicans Community……………Bosse…Clegg…Horn…L’Eplattenier…Steiner Nashua……………………141……950….2,139………..32………………356 Amherst……………………63…….295…….448…………13………………..82 Brookline…………………17…….108…….100…………..3………………..18 Hollis………………………N/A……N/A.......N/A……….N/A…………....N/A Hudson……………………34…….638…….238…………..6………………..67 Litchfield………………..23…….206…….123……………8………………..31 Lyndeborough………….5………..9……….15…………..2…………………..4 Milford……………………65…….277…….302…………..7…………………68 Mont Vernon………….14………71……….55…………..2…………………19 Pelham…………………..27…….197…….133…………..6…………………35 Wilton……………………..8………77……….91…………..0…………………31

 

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