When presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump returns to New Hampshire on Monday, he will give a speech and then attend a high-priced campaign fundraiser hosted by the owner of one of the state’s broadcast television stations.
Businessman Bill Binnie made his money in the plastics industry before running unsuccessfully for the US Senate in 2010. After losing, he re-launched a local television station and began broadcasting television news and radio news over a number of local stations under the name NH1 in 2014.
But politics didn’t end when he began to own media companies. As owner of the station, he once served as the state Republican Party treasurer. Presently, Binnie’s right-hand aide serves as the state Republican Party’s vice chairman. In 2015, one of his television news anchors endorsed the Republican mayor of the state’s largest city for re-election. That mayor, Ted Gatsas, is now a Republican candidate for governor. Gail Huff, the wife of former US senator Scott Brown, is a special correspondent, who interviewed Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker while Walker was wooing Brown for his endorsement in the Republican presidential primary.
But it is the fundraiser with Trump that is causing grumbling among New Hampshire Democrats.
“It’s just too much for me,” said Kathy Sullivan, New Hampshire’s Democratic National committeewoman. “There is a very partisan proclivity starting to permeate through the organization, and you have to ask the question if it impacts their coverage. Hopefully it won’t.”
Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign had no on-the-record comment about the news station’s owner hosting a fundraiser for its rival.
NH1 news director Robb Atkinson said, “Binnie’s fundraiser activities are personal in nature and do not carry the endorsement of NH1 News.”James Pindell can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @jamespindell or subscribe to his daily e-mail update on the 2016 campaign at www.bostonglobe.com/groundgame