July 27th, 2010
03:34 PM ET
13 years ago

New Hampshire A.G. investigating possible Dem push polling

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/03/art.getty.paul.hodes.jpg caption="The New Hampshire Attorney General's office is investigating whether Democratic Senate hopeful Paul Hodes ran 'push polls.'"]

(CNN) - The New Hampshire Attorney General's office is investigating whether Democratic Senate hopeful Paul Hodes ran "push polls" intended to cast a potential rival, Republican candidate Kelly Ayotte, in a negative light.

The phone calls in question hit New Hampshire households last week and raised questions about Ayotte's handling, when she was Attorney General, of a mortgage firm at the center of a Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors. The Hodes campaign had previously run television ads attacking Ayotte on the topic.

But according to state law, polling calls "which state, imply or convey information about the candidate's character, status or political stance or record" are considered push polls and punishable by fines or jail time.

The calls prompted the state Republican Party to file a complaint Monday with the Attorney General's office, which is now looking into the matter.

New Hampshire GOP spokesman Ryan Williams called the polling calls "dirty campaign tactics" and "gutter politics."

"These unethical push poll calls clearly violated state law and attempted to smear his opponent with lies and distortions," Williams said in a statement.

The Hodes campaign has not admitted to conducting the controversial poll, but denied any smear tactics.

"All of our polls are lawful and conducted for statistical purposes only, not to disseminate messages," said Hodes spokesman Mark Bergman. "We don't comment on the specific timing or content of any market research we conduct. This is just another partisan stunt from the New Hampshire Republican Party."

Hodes has trained his fire on Ayotte in recent weeks, but she still has to survive a four-way primary on September 14 for the nomination. Her main rival for the GOP nod is millionaire businessman Bill Binnie.

Filed under: 2010 • Kelly Ayotte • New Hampshire • Paul Hodes
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz,VA

    New Hampshire GOP spokesman Ryan Williams called the polling calls "dirty campaign tactics" and "gutter politics."

    Sounds like a play out of the Karl Rove handbook. Rovian tactics 101.

    July 27, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  2. seebofubar

    What, a democrat breaking campaign rules? Well I never!

    July 27, 2010 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  3. NC

    Push Polls, I thought the tea party republicans did it all the time.

    July 27, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  4. aproudmemberoftheunpatrioticmob

    I would bet there is one of those slimy, corrupt unions the Obozo in chief caters to that is behind it. Democrats, or what is now recognized as Democrats are pretty slimy especially when buddied up with their corrupt unions.

    July 27, 2010 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  5. Augsbee

    Well, if Paul Hodes is this dumb and can't follow rules and is involved in dirty campaign tactics then obviously he has no business running for Senator. Already he's starting on the wrong foot, we don't need this anymore in D.C.

    July 27, 2010 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  6. Benjamin

    It was despicable when Bush used push polling to defraud McCain in 2000 and it's despicable for a democrat to use it as well (and I myself am a liberal voter). There should be a law... indeed.

    July 27, 2010 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    The Accusation = The Conviction....3...2...1....

    July 27, 2010 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  8. Gil

    The truth will out! Repuglicans can't be trusted when they are in the hip pockets of Big Oil, Big Business and Wall Street!

    July 27, 2010 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  9. Nebraska

    Good luck Kelly Ayotte!

    July 27, 2010 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  10. Naqib

    In New Hampshire it's only a crime if a Republican does it...
    Democrats aren't requiered to follow laws

    July 27, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  11. GuyinVA

    Dirty tricks by a POLITICIAN?!? What has become of our country? Our most powerful, usually richest, and therefore most trusted citizens doing things like this. I'm devastated.

    July 27, 2010 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  12. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    By all means investigate. And then eat some crow.

    July 27, 2010 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  13. ruty

    People get a hobby. Everyone is pointing fingers in every direction. I am ashame of the way my country is acting. We are acting like a third world country. The rest of the world is laughing at us. Cant you see that. Grow up--you are adults now–act like it.

    July 27, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  14. Mark Bennett

    This is a phony claim by a desperate minority party trying to smear Congressman Hodes. Today's PPP poll shows Hodes surging in the US Senate race and the Republicans collapsing.

    You know a campaign is on its last legs when they scream "push poll!!!" at the top of their lungs.

    July 27, 2010 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  15. sammieb51

    Let me get this straight - the SCOTUS ruled that corporations can advertise anything (true or false), contribute however much money they want to candidates, BUT if one of the candidates gets on the phone and puts info out there about a candidate, it violates a law? Welcome to the United Corporate States of America.....

    July 27, 2010 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  16. Paul from Phoenix

    Wait, I thought Dems were above dirty tactics?

    July 27, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  17. Tom-Vermillion, Ohio

    So its not Okay to point out that a candidate has been connected to organized crime, uses prostitutes, served jail time, etc.,? (Assuming that these allegations are true) Wow...its no wonder why people hate government. That tells me that if a person has led a sordid life where he/she can't get a real job, then politics is the answer! (Right now I'm thinking about Bell, California and those 'high wages')

    July 27, 2010 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  18. Big George in Big D

    And you liberals blame everything on the Republicans. Oh yeah, what about that crook Charlie?

    July 27, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  19. Marie MD

    Are you kidding me?
    "intended to cast a potential rival, Republican candidate Kelly Ayotte, in a negative light." That sentence says it all. She's a rethug.
    How about shutting up the quitter from AK who thinks she knows the people of NH because they are the same as the "good people of AK".

    July 27, 2010 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  20. Wisconsinite

    @aproudmemberoftheunpatrioticmob "Democrats are pretty slimy"

    Anybody who constantly calls the President of the country he/she lives in "Obozo" has nothing on anybody wnen it comes to "slimy".

    July 27, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |