Big Crowd Turns Out for McDonnell, NH GOP

VA Gov. Bob McDonnell Speaks in Concord

Around 300 Republicans attended a $100 a head fundraising reception for the New Hampshire Republican State Committee with Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell tonight at the Grappone Center in Concord. It was an impressive showing for new Chairman Wayne MacDonald, who became chairman less than a month ago.

McDonnell let the crowd know this wasn’t his first time in New Hampshire. In 1976, he and his wife honeymooned in Sugar Hill and hiked Mt. Lincoln. McDonnell’s most recent visit to the Granite State took place last fall when he stumped on behalf of John Stephen’s campaign for governor.

McDonnell delivered a polished 15 minute stump speech touching on broad Republican themes of lower spending and lower taxes filled with references to the Founders that appealed to establishment Republicans and Tea Party types alike. He spoke without notes and eschewed the podium, preferring to walk around the stage using a wireless microphone. Tall, fit, and with perfectly parted hair, the smooth talking McDonnell came across as the candidate from central casting. It was an impressive display of political talent, one better than that turned in by many presidential candidates.

He noted that UNH’s football team defeated the University of Richmond over the weekend, 45-43. Several times he encouraged legislators to join Virginia in becoming a right to work state.

McDonnell fielded three softballs from the audience, but by then much of the crowd had resumed its own politicking, with the dull murmur of side conversations competing with the governor for attention. Rochester’s Mac Kittredge came to the governor’s rescue, requesting that he lead the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance. That brought the conversations to a halt for long enough for Finance Chairman Bill Binnie to present McDonnell with a quart of New Hampshire maple syrup.

fergus@ferguscullen.com, September 26, 2011

Author: Fergus Cullen

Fergus Cullen is a former chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party (2007-2008) and an editorial page columnist for the New Hampshire Union Leader.

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