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Woodburn and Warner dispute meaning of Clegg contribution

September 26, 2012
LITTLETON — The party nominees for the District 1 Senate race both issued statements in recent days about allegations related to Northern Pass. Jeff Woodburn, the Democratic candidate, suggested that Republican Debi Warner should return contributions from Robert Clegg, Jr., a proponent of the electric power line project.

Both Woodburn and Warner attended Sunday afternoon's anti-Northern Pass event in Easton. Woodburn understands that Warner opposes the project. Nonetheless, he suggested that Warner should return the Clegg contribution in an email message. The Democrat said that Clegg "has been a pit-bull for the Northern Pass and against the grassroots opponents of the project."

Both senate candidates made statements to WLTN radio several weeks ago on the Clegg issue. Warmer rejected the implication that a contribution from Clegg means she has wavered in her opposition to Northern Pass.

According to campaign contribution records, Clegg donated $1,000 to Warner's campaign in early August. Clegg's son Jeffrey made a $250 donation to Warner at that time.

In a statement that Warner issued over the weekend, Clegg is quoted as saying Warner "will make an exceptional Senator." He noted that he has known Warner for nearly 20 years. Clegg has said he was not even sure of Warner's position on Northern Pass when the donation was made.

On Monday Woodburn said that Northern Pass is "the biggest thing that has come to the North Country since the railroads." He believes that returning the Clegg contribution would allow Warner to say she rejects outside influence in the Senate campaign.

"I am very happy and proud of the organizations and individuals who have contributed to me," Woodburn continued. He is concerned that "independent contributions can come in and distort the truth." "I am concerned," Woodburn wrote in an email, "that the forces that want the Northern Pass will come after me."

Warner's opposition to Northern Pass remains. She said that one particular contributor who happens to be a friend will not change her view that Northern Pass is a threat to the North Country.

Clegg, who lives in Hudson, served four terms in the state senate. The statement Warner issued includes comments from Clegg about her leadership abilities. "She will make a great senator," Clegg wrote.

"I am positive Debi will represent the wishes of her constitutents," Clegg said. "I donated with the greatest respect for the ethics and moral character of a person I have grown to love as a sister," he concluded.

Clegg also noted Warner "is dead set against" Northern Pass. Nonetheless, he supports her campaign. "I donate to those I believe will listen and act in the best interest of NH," Clegg declared.

The unique and cherished North Country way of life is central to both the Warner and Woodburn campaigns. Warner's website promises that she will work to strengthen the regional economy and preserve natural resources. Woodburn's site declares he will defend the North Country against the rising tide of suburbanization in the southern part of the state.

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