Campaign Notebook: Keough Campaign Director

One of the key figures behind state Sen. Bruce Keough’s rise from relative political obscurity to a second-place finish in the Republican gubernatorial primary has found a new job.

Keough campaign director Rich Killion has been named director of Franklin Pierce College’s new Marlin Fitzwater Center for Communication. The center, dedicated in May, is named in honor of the press secretary to President Reagan and former President Bush.

Before joining Keough’s campaign, Killion was executive director of New Hampshire Citizens for a Sound Economy, a group that helped defeat a proposed home rule amendment to the state constitution. The group also supported U.S. Sen. John McCain’s bill exempting Internet retail sales from state sales taxes.

Killion previously worked at Franklin Pierce as head of public relations and director of the capital campaign. He also helped start the college’s Center for Applied Public Opinion Research, a public opinion polling institute.

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) – A former chairman of the state Republican Party has written an “open letter” to the current chairman, saying top party officials should stop criticizing supporters of a write-in campaign for U.S. Sen. Bob Smith.

U.S. Rep. John Sununu, who defeated Smith in the GOP primary, should beat Democratic Gov. Jeanne Shaheen in the general election easily because Republicans outnumber Democrats in the state by a wide margin, David Gosselin said.

Gosselin, who is leading one of at least two write-in campaigns for Smith, said discouraging Smith supporters could hurt Republicans in other races by keeping voters away from the polls altogether.

“If John Sununu were smart, he would welcome a Smith write-in, as it is not a vote for his opponent. The current name-calling and efforts to demean these voters may move them from neutral to Shaheen. Your message to these critics should be, ‘Cool it,”‘ Gosselin wrote to party chairman John Dowd.

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) – City police say they are investigating the theft of political signs supporting a write-in campaign for U.S. Sen. Bob Smith.

Judy Gosselin, treasurer of the Committee for Political Leadership, said that on Saturday, while she was posting signs promoting the write-in campaign, she saw two people taking down some of the signs and throwing them in a Dumpster.

Someone caught part of the incident on videotape, including the license plate on one suspect’s car, according to WNDS-TV. The car sported bumper stickers for U.S. Rep. John Sununu, who defeated Smith in the GOP primary for Smith’s seat.

Investigators are reviewing the videotape in an effort to identify the suspects, police said.

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) – The largest small business group in the country endorsed Republican John Sununu in the U.S. Senate race on Monday.

The National Federation of Independent Business says Sununu has been a strong advocate for small business, voting for tax relief, affordable health care and less government regulation.

The business group says Sununu’s rival, Democratic Gov. Jeanne Shaheen, worked to pass a sales tax that would have hurt small businesses.

The state Democratic Party scoffs at the endorsement, saying Sununu voted to protect large companies that have moved their headquarters overseas to avoid paying taxes, forcing the state’s small businesses to pay more taxes.