EXETER, New Hampshire — The campaign of Democratic incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) kicked this reporter out of an event at ReVision Energy on Wednesday afternoon.
Shaheen’s campaign asked the owner of the business–who refused to identify himself–to say to this reporter that “this was a private event and you’re not welcome here.”
This reporter had signed in as all other attendees of the event–reporters and Shaheen supporters–had, providing a cell phone number, address for Breitbart News’ Washington headquarters, and email address. This reporter’s congressional press badge, which is issued by the United States Senate press gallery–something that is issued to all congressionally credentialed Capitol Hill journalists–was prominently displayed on a lanyard.
After signing in with Shaheen’s staffers, who told this reporter to head into the back of the venue where the event was being held, this reporter did so and asked another Shaheen staffer what the details of the event were going to be.
“She’ll be speaking from the podium, which is over there,” the staffer said. He didnt identify himself and had no business card since he said he was new with the campaign. This reporter asked if Shaheen would be doing a press availability afterwards and where that would be, and the staffer was unaware if she would be.
This reporter provided that staffer with his business card and prepared to take notes to report on the Shaheen speech and event.
While preparing to take notes and standing in the back of the room, as reporters normally do, the owner of the business and a Shaheen staffer approached this reporter and asked this reporter to leave the event. The owner of the business would not provide his name, and said that this is a private event that isn’t open to the public.
“I’m a congressionally credentialed Capitol Hill reporter, credentialed by the U.S. Senate press gallery,” this reporter said in response to him, holding up this reporter’s credentials–a hard badge photo ID card.
The owner and Shaheen campaign said that didn’t matter, and they proceeded to say this reporter needed to leave. So, this reporter cooperated and left the premises without incident. While walking out the front door, the owner of the business remarked that this reporter “could go be a reporter over there on public property” while pointing to the street.
The League of Conservation Voters, a liberal environmentalist group, endorsed Shaheen at the event.
Other reporters including NECN’s Katherine Underwood, among others, were inside the event.
The event was open press, meaning reporters from various credentialed media outlets were invited to attend. It was advertised on Tuesday afternoon–more than a full day beforehand–as a “press conference” in a release from Shaheen’s campaign. It has since been advertised postmortem on her campaign website as a “press conference.”
It is highly unusual for a political campaign of either political party to kick a congressionally credentialed reporter out of an open press campaign event. It is normal for campaigns to ask partisan political operatives, like media trackers–people who work for campaigns or other political operations filming footage and gathering other information on their political opponents to be used against them–to leave, but reporters are a different story.
Shaheen’s campaign hasn’t responded to emails and phone calls seeking comment or an explanation.
Shaheen’s campaign handled this much differently than the campaign of her fellow Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) during a recent debate in Shreveport, Louisiana. After the debate there, Landrieu’s campaign staff actually approached this reporter–who had previously identified himself to them–and invited this reporter to a press conference that Landrieu was having post-debate. During that press conference, this reporter–who was there along with representatives many other media outlets from various different political viewpoints–asked Landrieu a question about her views on immigration, and she responded and answered part of it.
Earlier in the day on Wednesday, Breitbart News followed Brown around a factory in Londonberry, New Hampshire, along with reporters from NECN, public radio and CNN’s Dana Bash, who came in to cover the race here this week.
New Hampshire Republican Party chairwoman Jennifer Horn told Breitbart News that Shaheen’s campaign’s decision to kick out a congressionally credentialed Capitol Hill reporter is unacceptable and shows that she’s in trouble.
“Jeanne Shaheen has avoided town hall meetings with her constituents because she is desperate to avoid questions about her record of voting with President Obama 99% of the time,” Horn said in an email after Breitbart News described what happened. “Now she is avoiding reporters because she doesn’t want to answer questions about her disastrous debate performance. Shaheen continues to thumb her nose at New Hampshire’s tradition of open and honest government.”