By John Toole
---- — SALEM, N.H. — Some of the state legislators congressional candidate Marilinda Garcia identified as supporters in a campaign press release this week said they aren’t endorsing the Republican.
“I feel as though I’ve been used,” said Rep. Robert Elliot, R-Salem.
Garcia rival Gary Lambert later issued a release saying Elliot had endorsed him for the Republican nomination in the 2nd Congressional District. Elliot confirmed he is endorsing Lambert.
“She and I don’t see eye to eye,” Elliot said of Garcia.
Rep. Charles McMahon, R-Windham, said he also isn’t backing Garcia at this point.
“I am not now supporting anyone,” McMahon said.
Garcia, a Republican state legislator from Salem, invited colleagues to join her for her campaign announcement during a break in the House session on Wednesday.
Elliot said they weren’t told their names would appear in a release and he wouldn’t have permitted it.
“No, no, no,” Elliot said. “She has done that on her own.”
Garcia said she is willing to remove the names of the lawmakers if that is what they want.
“I would be happy to take them off my list of supportive colleagues,” she said.
Garcia personally invited the lawmakers to attend the event. She said she assured them this didn’t constitute an endorsement and she wasn’t requesting one.
But her press release said she “formally launched her candidacy with the support of over 70 legislative colleagues.”
The release said the lawmakers “stood with Marilinda.”
Lambert said the list contained the names of lawmakers in addition to Elliot who are supporting his candidacy.
Asked to comment on the Garcia release, Lambert said, “Well, I think it would mean they are supporters.”
Rep. Al Baldasaro, R-Londonderry, was on the list but said he had helped Lambert prior to Garcia’s announcement, regards both as friends and is trying to stay neutral.
He said he attended because of his involvement with the House Republican Alliance.
“I’m stuck in the middle of two friends,” Baldasaro said.
Chris Galdieri, a St. Anselm College assistant professor of political science, said representatives who attended Garcia’s event but aren’t actually backing her now appear wishy-washy.
“But it’s also sort of an amateur mistake (by Garcia) to have people on the platform with you who aren’t really supporting you,” Galdieri said.