New Hampshire Democratic Party operatives were refused entry to two Scott Brown town halls this month, despite boasts by the Republican Senate candidate and his campaign manager that the events are open to all.
On Tuesday, Aug. 5 in Salem, New Hampshire and yesterday in Nashua, Democratic operatives recorded the scene as Brown staffers told them the widely-touted town halls were "private events" where attendance was screened and the Brown campaign reserved the right to deny entry.
The town halls have become a major focus of Brown's campaign of late, with the former Massachusetts senator using the events to draw a contrast with Democratic incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who Brown supporters say is ducking the public by declining to host her own town hall meetings. Brown himself has expressed a similar sentiment, and New Hampshire Republicans have put a staffer in a chicken suit to draw attention to Shaheen's lack of town hall events.
A Brown campaign release Aug. 4 announcing the Salem town hall made no mention that the events were exclusive. In a radio interview Tuesday ahead of the Nashua town hall, Brown was asked if the event "was open to the public."
"Oh yeah, these are all open and unfettered as you know we had one last week, we've done veterans prior to this, but this is what people expect when elected officials come home in August on the breaks they expect these types of things and that's what we're doing," Brown responded.
A New Hampshire Democratic Party operative RSVP'd for the Nashua town hall but never got a response. When he showed up for the event, video he captured showed Brown staffers denying him entry, saying it was "a private event."
On Wednesday, the Daily Caller reported that a group of Shaheen supporters organizing an effort to attend Brown's town hall in Nashua and pepper the candidate with politically uncomfortable questions. Responding to the plan, Brown campaign manager Colin Reed told the Caller the events were open to all.
"We welcome people of all political stripes at our town hall meetings," he said.
Reed did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Democratic tracker footage from the Brown town hall in Salem:
Democratic tracker footage from the town hall in Nashua:
Evan McMorris-Santoro is the White House correspondent for BuzzFeed News.
Contact Evan McMorris-Santoro at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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