Friday, July 1, 2011

Binnie turmoil

September 2, 2010 by ShawnMillerick  
Filed under News & Politics, Uncategorized

Now! Hampshire has learned from several sources that the Binnie campaign is in turmoil. A rift has opened up between prominent supporters and Binnie’s mostly out-of-state and Canadian campaign staff, and Binnie has decided to ignore both and call his own shots.

The rift opened up weeks ago after Binnie received a poll showing he was trailing far behind his main opponent Kelly Ayotte and the campaign unleashed a barrage of negative ads, calls, and mail. A subsequent poll showed that barrage had backfired and damaged Binnie’s own image and crippled his chances at winning the primary. This poll prompted a revolt of several of Binnie’s top NH supporters, and they convinced Binnie to pull his negative ads, against the advice of Binnie’s paid staff. Binnie supporters blamed the staff for the inartful, over-the-top negative ads and there were calls for heads to roll over it. Binnie’s staff, in turn, has tried to exclude these supprters from the decision-making process.

Binnie’s well-known temper has been on display as well, with several eruptions being reported this past week. Binnie is in full CEO mode, taking control of his own campaign, barking out orders, not listening to anyone but trusting his gut. He is privately telling people that he did not want to go negative but was talked into it by his staff. He now realizes it was a mistake and his going with his gut. He reportedly called Fosters after the paper had chastised his campaign for its negativity. Binnie told them that he was counting on their endorsement that he heard their message loud and clear, and that he would run a positive campaign for the rest of the primary. In spite of this mea culpa, Fosters endorsed Jim Bender, and Binnie is said to be devastated at the rejection.

Binnie also tried to make amends with the Union Leader; his staff has told people that Binnie trekked to the paper with his tail between his legs apologizing and asking for forgiveness. Binnie reportedly acknowledged that taking out the full page ad in the Union leader and challenging the paper directly was a mistake and expressed remorse for having done so. The ad was written by Gerry Nichols with input from Binnie and was regarded by nearly everyone as a colossal blunder, but this mea culpa too was proffered too late, as the Union Leader endorsed Ovide Lamontagne

(As an aside, Now! Hampshire has also learned that Jim Bender was all but convinced that he was going to get the endorsement, and exploded at his staff when he did not get it.)

By all accounts, Binnie has indeed realized that his negative ads have damaged his candidacy and faults his campaign for the blunder. He longs for a “do over”, getting back to his early success on the trail, and his frustration often bubbles to the surface as he lashes out and his temper explodes.

Binnie didn’t make any bold moves this week, and it is unclear whether this was by design as the campaign ran positive ads and tried to right itself or if it was the result of paralysis and indecision. Heading into Labor Day weekend the campaign is quiet.

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