From Paul Steinhauser in the 603 - what to watch:

  • Bloomberg’s on his way

  • Harris makes symbolic hire

  • Inslee says climate change needs to be top 2020 issues

  • Beto-mania in the 603

  • Schiff visit raises eyebrows

  • Castro doesn’t drink, so why are we talking about Bud Light?


Bloomberg’s New Hampshire adventure

How does Mike Bloomberg follow up after delivering some of his most scathing comments about President Donald Trump? With a trip to New Hampshire, the state that for a century’s held the first primary in the race for the White House. Next Tuesday’s visit – which comes as the former New York City major explores a run for the Democratic nomination – appears to have the look and the feel of a presidential campaign swing. The billionaire media mogul and gun safety and environmental activist will speak about climate change Tuesday morning at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College, when he spotlights his latest book, Climate of Change. In the afternoon, he’ll tour the W.H. Bagwell textile pin manufacturing firm in Nashua before teaming up with Democratic National Committeeman Bill Shaheen for a walking tour of downtown Dover. He’ll cap his day in the state capital of Concord, where he’ll be the guest of honor at a house party at the home of longtime activists Lew Feldstein and Mary McGowan. The trip – which should grab plenty of national media attention – will give Bloomberg an outlet to address his signature issues – and give him a taste of New Hampshire’s famed ‘retail style’ politics.

Harris plants a flag in the first-in-the-nation primary state

Sen. Kamala Harris appears to be making a statement by choosing New Hampshire as the first state where her presidential campaign announced the hiring of a state director. The Harris campaign revealed on Thursday that Craig Brown is coming on board as New Hampshire state director. Brown, a Manchester native, most recently managed Joyce Craig’s 2017 Manchester mayoral campaign and last year ran the campaign of former state Sen. Molly Kelly, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee. There have been questions and concerns since Harris declared her candidacy on Monday over whether she would emphasize other early voting states at the expense of New Hampshire. For example, California's primary has been moved up to March 3rd. Kathy Sullivan, the veteran Democratic National Committee member from the Granite State, told the Monitor the move by the Democratic senator from California “shows that she’s taking New Hampshire very seriously.”
Concord Monitor 


Ray’s Response

Minutes after news of the Harris' New Hampshire hire was reported on Twitter by the Concord Monitor, WMUR, and the Boston Globe, longtime state party chairman Ray Buckley tweeted  “can we all agree the media created 'Harris is skipping NH' line is permanently dead?? Thanks. The #FITN primary is the road to the White House”
LINK to tweet 


Jay’s day in the Granite State

Looking and sounding very much like a presidential candidate, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee came to New Hampshire on Tuesday to warn that climate change must be the top issue in the 2020 elections. And Inslee – a potential White House contender – told the Monitor that he’s “seriously considering” a run for the Democratic presidential nomination, vowing that, “If I do announce, it’s going to be in weeks, not months.” Inslee also met privately with Buckley, to put out a small but smoldering political fire
Concord Monitor
Union Leader 

WATCH: Inslee on his 2020 timetable 
WATCH: Inslee on his meeting with the NH Democratic Party chair 

Beto-mania coming to New Hampshire

Beto O’Rourke said Friday that he doesn’t have a timetable for making a 2020 decision and added it could possibly be months away. But that’s not stopping supporters from urging the former congressman who narrowly lost to conservative Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas last November to launch a White House bid. The political action committee Draft Beto 2020 – which is not connected with O’Rourke -- announced on Tuesday that it will hold a house party Jan. 30, at the Concord home of Democratic activist and attorney Jay Surdukowski. The group is organizing a second event two days later – on Feb. 1 – at To Share Brewery in Manchester.
Concord Monitor

Brown’s big moment

Last week right here in THE 603 I wrote "The increasingly influential New Hampshire Young Democrats hold their annual Granite Slate awards dinner and fundraising event on Feb. 9. The big question is who will headline the soiree? Last year Julian Castro keynoted the event." 
Now we know – it’s Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio. The speech will be a key part of his two day swing (Feb 8-9) through the Granite State by the progressive senator and champion of union workers who’s seriously mulling a White House bid. The dinner is arguably the second most important 2020 political event in the state this February, behind the Feb. 22 New Hampshire Democratic Party’s annual McIntyre-Shaheen 100 Club dinner. That major fundraising event will be headlined by Elizabeth Warren.




Warren’s NH, Iowa, SC, and Nevada full court press

Warren was scheduled to hold an organizing rally Friday evening in Las Vegas. But the trip was postponed at the last minute following the breaking news about the end of the longest government shutdown in history. Warren changed course and stayed in the nation’s capital for votes to end the shutdown. When Warren eventually makes her stop in Nevada, the progressive firebrand will become the first top-tier Democratic White House hopeful to make stops in all of the first four states to vote in the primary and caucus calendar. And Warren will have accomplished her feat in a matter of weeks following her Dec. 31 launch of a presidential exploratory committee.
Fox News 


Buttigieg says mayors are just as important as members of Congress

The conventional wisdom is that you can’t go from city hall to the White House. But South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg disagrees. “I’m just puzzled by the idea that the United States Congress automatically ought to be considered a better place or a higher realm of responsibility than being on the front lines as a city executive,” Buttigieg told the Concord Monitor and  on Wednesday. “When you’re a mayor, you’re responsible for everything, especially in this strong mayor’s system where I serve in Indiana.” The 37-year old Democrat and veteran of the War in Afghanistan was interviewed a couple of hours after he launched a presidential exploratory committee.
Concord Monitor


Gillibrand hires NHDP veteran

The new national press secretary for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York’s White House bid is a graduate of New Hampshire state party chairman Ray Buckley’s school of politics. Evan Lukaske served as press secretary for the New Hampshire Democratic Party in the 2016 cycle before doing a tour of duty with the DCCC during the 2018 midterms.


Raising eyebrows

Congressman Adam Schiff of California – the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee – will headline ‘Politics and Eggs’ on Monday Feb. 4.  Schiff was last in the Granite State in late September as the main speaker at Portsmouth Democrats annual gala. And former Republican Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld – who was also the 2016 Libertarian Party vice presidential nominee – speaks at ‘Politics and Eggs’ on Feb. 15. The speaking series – hosted by the New England Council and the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College – is a must stop for White House hopefuls.

Castro inspired by Bud Light?

When Julian Castro announced his presidential campaign earlier this month in his native Texas, he also unveiled his new campaign logo. As the former San Antonio mayor and U.S. Housing secretary during President Barack Obama’s second term declared his candidacy, supporters held his new blue signs, which said Julian in large white letters, inside a white rectangle. The signs had some people drawing comparisons with the latest logo for Bud Light. Castro was asked about the coincidence in a recent interview with SeacoastOnline. “I saw something about that, which is funny, because I don’t even drink,” Castro chuckled. “But if it works - because everybody drinks Bud Light - so I’m happy to take the comparison. But people should know, I actually don’t drink, so Bud Light was not the inspiration. But I think it’s a nice logo and what we were trying to do with it, is have something that is bold and something that people can understand what I stand for. Our tag line to the campaign is ‘one nation, one destiny.’” 



How the shutdown played in the Granite State

The Republican leaning New Hampshire Journal writes that "President Trump blinked in his government-shutdown battle with Speaker Pelosi and, based on the poll numbers here in New Hampshire, it was just in time." An exclusive NHJournal poll of Granite State registered voters found that most didn't believe the border wall gain was worth the shutdown pain. The poll's results show that 57.6% of Granite Staters felt that funding a border barrier was not worth the costs of shutting the federal government. But 83% of New Hampshire Republicans took President Trump’s side the showdown with Democrats in Congress.


First moves in 2020 NH gubernatorial race

He flirted with a run for governor in the 2018 election cycle, but now it seems that Democratic Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky is doing more than just flirting.
Concord Monitor

Tuna Nachos?

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu – who’s very handy in the kitchen – unveiled his passion for nachos with tuna – as he described how he was getting ready for the Super Bowl. 

ON BACKGROUND on This week’s guests are Inslee, Buttigieg and Tom Steyer.


Thanks as always for sharing with friends and colleagues, please point anyone and everyone to sign up here. That's all we've got, have a great weekend. You can follow Paul Steinhauser, NH's most versatile political news reporter, here, and contact THE 603 co-founder & publisher, Kieran Baker, here.  

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