Editor’s note: Kathleen Kelley launched a write-in campaign against Sen. Jeff Woodburn, D-Whitefield, after he was arrested for nine domestic-violence related misdemeanor charges. Woodburn, who has pleaded not guilty, received 2,354 votes in the primary and Kelley received 1,014 for her.
One of the topics discussed on the NHPR Weekly News Round-up by Dean Spiliotes and Kevin Landrigan was that “there was a write-in campaign against Jeff Woodburn that fizzled.” They went on to speak of Jeff launching a social media campaign to claim that he was acting in self-defense.
The Kathleen Kelley for Senate campaign did not fizzle; at the onset, it was asking the voters whether they wanted a different choice for the Democratic Candidate for the Senate District #1 since the incumbent had nine charges of domestic violence against him and would most likely be going to court after the General Election. The leaders in the Democratic Party asked him to step down mid-August until cleared of all charges. The democratic party offices and officers committed to not campaign for Jeff through the general election. He chooses not to step down because he claims the accusations were unfounded and he feels the victim of violence at Emily’s hand. The two of them met through their mutual interest in the Democratic Party.
Over 1,000 people chose to write Kathleen Kelley in on a ballot correctly (maybe as many as 500 more wrote what they thought was the correct spelling but the NH SOS has not verified this). Forty percent of the votes this primary were most likely from women. A vote for Kathleen Kelley was a vote to have someone else representing Northern New Hampshire’s needs in the next biennium. The Democratic Party voted (2,300 plus) to stay the course with Jeff Woodburn. Kathleen chose to honor the wishes of those that voted in the Primary.
In light of what has been in the news this month, some people are becoming more aware of how many women and men have experienced sexual violence. They are now aware of the coexistence of alcohol and drug abuse in most cases of sexual violence. The story not told in the news is that the vast majority of men who behave this way have a character flaw. These men are a small percentage of all men in America. These influential people like positions of power and want to dominate others in any way possible, like the stories we have recently read about priests, politicians, movie executives and other CEOs. However, again it is not all and not only priests, politicians, movie executives, and CEOs, just a small percentage of these influencers.
We need to remember that “America is the most religiously devout country in the Western world and the most religiously diverse nation on the planet” according to the Aspen Institute’s new study. Historically the North Country has enjoyed strong religious communities and ties; the moral compass is strong. Other journalists are reporting that the rate of domestic violence is down, as is violent crimes, and yet the rate of women reporting sexual abuse is up.
The North Country does not “accept domestic violence” by choosing Jeff Woodburn as a candidate; they just felt he had done a great job in the past three terms and these nine charges of domestic violence are yet to be proven. We won’t know more details about the allegations until 2019. Voters of both parties must decide in thirty-seven days. Voters are asking, “Will Jeff continue to do the excellent work he has done in the Senate?” In other words, will he keep attending the Senate and committee meetings even while clearing his name in court? David Starr, a veteran, a political newcomer is in favor of school vouchers, against REGGI, against renewable energy expansion, wants to restrict eligible voters, against same-sex marriage, and supports “right to work.” Will he do what is best for the North Country as a whole? Will he understand the complexity of the City of Berlin’s tax situation?
Many have called Kathleen Kelley, asking if she is willing to run a write-in General Election campaign. She is not running during this General Election. Kathleen Kelley is choosing to work during the next 37 days to send Annie Kuster to DC and Molly Kelly to Concord along with Edith Tucker, Larry LaFlamme, Yvonne Thomas, William (Bill) Hatch, Herb Richardson, Henri Noel, Cathleen Fountain, Wayne Moynihan, and Michael Cryans.
Views expressed in columns and opinion pieces are those of the author and do not reflect those of InDepthNH.org.