EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

December 21, 2013

Londonderry rep considers U.S. Senate run

Baldasaro has served in N.H. House for seven years

By Alex Lippa
alippa@eagletribune.com

---- — LONDONDERRY — A local lawmakere is considering throwing his name in the mix for Democrat U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s seat.

Rep. Al Baldasaro, R-Londonderry, said he would be the ideal person to replace Shaheen next fall.

“What I see in Washington aggravates me every day,” Baldasaro said. “Her votes are not for New Hampshire.”

Baldasaro has served in the New Hampshire House for seven years, where he is on the Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs Committee. He served in the Marines for 22 years.

“I’m a loud voice, not a politician,” Baldasaro said. “I will tell it like it is. If I don’t support an issue, I will tell them.”

Baldasaro would join former Sen. Jim Rubens, former U.S. Sen. Robert Smith and activist Karen Testerman as Republicans who want to challenge Shaheen. Former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, formerly a Massachusetts Republican and now a state resident, is rumored to be contemplating a run as well.

“He’s a nice guy, but I don’t think he’s running,” Baldasaro said of Brown. “He’s helping the party and selling his books, but I don’t think he’s even an issue.”

Baldasaro has been a source of controversy in the state for comments about gay rights and gun issues. New Hampshire Democratic Party spokesman Harrell Kirstein spoke out against Baldasaro yesterday.

“Al Baldasaro is wildly out of touch with New Hampshire values and would be a rubber stamp for the radical Tea Party,” he said. “Baldasaro opposes a woman’s right to choose, common sense gun violence prevention laws, and rights for New Hampshire's LGBT citizens, including marriage equality. He epitomizes the NH GOP's far-right ideology.”

Baldasaro said he would decide by next month whether to run. He said money is his major concern at this point.

“It’s going to take a lot,” he said. “I’ve never really done any fundraising. I’ve got some people looking into it. I’m going to start making phone calls and see what’s out there.”

Windham GOP Chairman Bruce Breton said he has already heard from people who would support Baldasaro.

“I have high respect for (Baldasaro),” he said. “He’s been great for servicemen and veterans. He can make sure they get benefits and protect the health and welfare for all of them. I had coffee with some ex-veterans (yesterday) morning and they were all really happy to hear he was considering running."

Baldasaro touted his political experience as a big factor in his candidacy.

“I have the most experience besides (Smith), he said. “I’m probably the most qualified as far as my voting record.”

If Baldasaro were elected, he said, proposing budget cuts would be one of the first things he would do.

“I’m for small government, and she continues to vote for more spending,” he said. “It’s out of control. I’m disgusted.”