September 14, 2020 In the News

Candidates for US Senate split on approach to COVID-19

September 14, 2020

CONCORD, N.H. — The major candidates for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire are clashing over how to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

At a news conference calling for clean elections, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., was masked until she took the podium, and participants kept their distance. She said that will probably be the norm for her for the rest of the campaign.

“We’re going to continue to do that throughout the state and speak to people virtually when we can’t follow the guidelines,” she said.

Shaheen’s event was a far cry from the scale of the rally where Republican challenger Corky Messner took the stage ahead of President Donald Trump.

“I think voter contact is very, very important,” Messner said.

Democrats pointed out the potential viral danger of the rally, but as of last week, contact tracing had revealed zero cases of COVID-19 connected to the president’s visit.

Republicans might chuckle at scaled-back Democratic events, but Shaheen holds the advantages of incumbency, strong name recognition and a double-digit lead in the polls. When it comes to the pandemic, she said New Hampshire needs more help from Washington.

“We need a package of assistance in Washington that supports state and local governments — which my opponent opposes — that is going to make sure there is funding for hospitals and medical workers who are trying to recover so they can provide health care to people,” Shaheen said.

Messner said the next round of relief should be targeted and specific.

“We can’t continue the out-of-control spending that the Democrats wanted in their package, $3 trillion, a good percentage of which was just wasteful pork spending,” he said. “We have to stop that.”

How Granite State voters interpret the different approaches on policy and the campaign trail remain to be seen, and the next relief bill is likely to continue as a point of contention if and when it passes.