Andrew Hemingway wants to be New Hampshire’s next governor. He’s twenty days away from a big hurdle: the primary election that pits him against former BAE executive Walt Havenstein. Both men are putting in countless miles getting to events and meeting voters. Andrew Hemingway made a priority of coming to Concord on a recent weekend to speak at a pro-life gathering arranged by supporters of Senate candidate Bob Smith.
One can’t help but be struck by Hemingway’s youth (early 30s) when he’s at a forum with other candidates, many of them a generation older, with that much more experience. He didn’t sound like a newcomer when he took the mic, though, and made his appeal to the pro-life voters listening on the State House plaza.
“One of the things I’ve been most impressed and excited about throughout this process is meeting people. It’s the most rewarding part of this. If you’re not excited and interested in the people of New Hampshire, you’re probably doing the wrong thing. I have been amazed at the number of individuals who are pro-life, yet have been beaten into submission and into silence. Folks, we have over 500 Republicans running in this state right now for election, and yet when we hold a pro-life rally on the steps of the capitol building, are they there? I think we should take a count, not so much of who is here, but who is NOT here. They say that they’re Republican, yet do they represent what it means to be a Republican? Because last I checked, the right to life, the value and the sanctity that we put on human life, is still in our party platform. And I want to say thank you …to the state candidates who are here, I want to say thank you to all of you who are here, who are willing to stand up regardless of what the mainstream media tells us, regardless perhaps sometimes of what our own party leadership tells us. We know that life is sacred from conception until natural death.”
He called out Republicans supportive of the abortion agenda. He knows perfectly well that New Hampshire voters have varying views. He also knows what the Republican platform says.
“…in our party, we were putting forward individuals who are pro-choice, who are actually scornful of individuals who carry the pro-life banner and stand up for life. We see it in these closed rooms. We’re told ‘you can’t talk about that. Don’t talk about that issue.’ Anyone who has run for office knows that this is true. Absolutely true. ‘You can’t talk about that issue. After we win, then we get to talk about it.’ No. That is why we lose.”
Andrew spoke boldly about the 2011 Executive Council vote to deny Planned Parenthood the Title X family planning contract it had come to expect every two years. (Here’s a review of that situation, including how PP recovered from the vote.) He doesn’t buy into the segregated-funds argument advanced by PP, which says that Title X funds cannot be used for abortion – this from northern New England’s premier abortion provider, which complained about having to drop cancer screenings when Title X funding was compromised. Apparently staff salaries and public policy work are more critical than cancer screenings — but I digress.
“You know the funding of Planned Parenthood came up in our Executive Council. And if not for Republicans voting for that funding, it would have been shut off. It would have been stopped. Countless lives would have been saved in this state. We were two votes away. I believe that with the right leadership in Concord, with the right leadership in the governor’s office, with a conservative House, with a conservative Senate, we can stop the taxpayer funding of abortions in our state.”
Taxpayer funding of abortion providers, actually. Any move to let taxpayers divest from that industry is a step in the right direction.
Am I drawing a figurative target on his back by reporting what he said? I don’t think so. A big-bucks abortion advocacy group has already signed on with Governor Hassan, and that will not change. Walt Havenstein and Andrew Hemingway can both expect slander and lies once the primary’s over, no matter who wins:- “denying health care to women” if they support taxpayer divestiture from abortion providers, “bosses making women’s health care decisions” if they support the Hobby Lobby decision and conscience rights for employers (including female business owners), “putting women’s safety at risk” if they’re not on board with the buffer zone and its nullification of the First Amendment “up to 25 feet” from abortion facilities.
Where to from here?:
“You’ve got to ask yourselves ‘how to we take that next step?’ Is it just rallies? Is this just where we come and we clap and we cheer and we say Yes and we get fired up, and then we stop? No. You can’t let this stop. This needs to be a starting point. Is there any other greater cause? No. This is it. The pinnacle. So we must move forward on this cause. You must take the energy from this day and move this cause forward. Believe me: at every single stop, in all 200 places, we are talking about the importance of protecting life. … [Pro-life candidates] will keep fighting. But we need your help. We need your support. We need you to rally your friends and your family. Make sure everybody who votes September 9th votes pro-life.”
I spoke with Andrew privately after the event. I had to ask him a question that he’s probably heard often. Walt Havenstein is a man of proven managerial skill, as is known by many New Hampshire residents who have worked at BAE Systems. (I include my own family in there.) How can Andrew Hemingway compete with that kind of management experience? “Yes. Walt does have management experience. No question. But he’s not an entrepreneur. He’s a manager. He’s not a creator. I’m an entrepreneur. I’ve started businesses, I’ve sold businesses. I understand small business.” He noted that most New Hampshire businesses fall into that category. “I understand New Hampshire. I grew up here.”
I asked him if anything had surprised him about the state during his campaign travels. “Some of the manufacturers here that I’d never heard of!” And one more thing: “How beautiful our state is. I thought I knew that already. Then I go someplace new, and I think, ‘oh, this is amazing,’ and then I have another stop later in the day, and it’s a place just as amazing.”
After the rally, he stayed to talk with voters. No looking at his watch. He spent more time listening than talking. Retail politics at its best. As he said, he understands New Hampshire.