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TG Branfalt Jr.

TG Branfalt Jr. is a reporter based in Albany, NY, where he earned his master's degree from the College of Saint Rose. He has previously covered politics for The Legislative Gazette. He is also a news reporter for Reuters.
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Connecticut Governor’s Race Tied, But Gender Gap Remains Wide

Thursday, October 30th, 2014 - by TG Branfalt Jr.

Contest between Malloy and Foley is a rematch of the 2010 gubernatorial race.

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Dead Heat: Shaheen Says Obama’s ‘Too Busy’ to Campaign in N.H., Brown Says Absence Intended

Monday, October 27th, 2014 - by TG Branfalt Jr.

MORE DEBATE: Brown, Shaheen Battle Over Border, Obamacare, Business

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Brown, Shaheen Battle Over Border, Obamacare, Business

Monday, October 27th, 2014 - by TG Branfalt Jr.

The Oct. 21 debate between Scott Brown and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) started cordial enough, but digressed into attacks as their time on the stage expired.

The two agreed on a breadth of issues, including a travel ban as a means of stemming potential Ebola infections, not reclassifying marijuana from its Schedule 1 status or allowing its use recreationally and the need for better healthcare for veterans. Their policies diverged, though, on the hot-button issues that have been prominent throughout this race, such as the Affordable Care Act and immigration.

Shaheen said that the ACA, a bill for which Brown has repeatedly said Shaheen was the “deciding vote,” was “real progress” and an accomplishment she was “proud of.” She said that Brown’s assertion that he would move to repeal the bill would lead to the loss of insurance for “tens of thousands” of New Hampshire citizens and that he doesn’t have a plan to replace that lost coverage.

Brown, who did not offer an alternative plan during the debate, said that “Obamacare is not the only answer” and said the incumbent didn’t even bother to read the legislation, instead blindly following President Obama, like she does “99 percent of the time.”

“We address pre-existing care, covering kids to a certain age, dealing with catastrophic care and coverage – there are all sorts of things we can address,” Brown said. “We can develop a plan that works for us… Had [Shaheen] read [the bill] she would have understood that three-quarters of a trillion dollars in cuts come from our seniors’ Medicare.”

He also reminded the audience that the business mandate takes effect after the upcoming election and that the mandate will “crush businesses and individuals.”

“Their care and coverages have gone down and it is real,” Brown warned.

Shaheen argued that repealing the bill would send the country back to the time where insurance companies could choose not to provide coverage for pre-existing conditions or cut benefits when sick people reached their lifetime limits.

“We don’t want to go back to a time when health insurance companies determine what kind of care people get,” she said.

Shaheen did say that if she were able to make changes to the law she would appoint an independent CEO and advisory committee to oversee the website.

“We saw some issues with the rollout of the website,” she said.

The other major point of contention between the opponents is, and has been, immigration. During the debate, Brown said that border control was not only important to keep out illegal immigrants and protect jobs but also to prevent ISIS from entering the country and succeeding in their ultimate goal of “plant[ing] a flag in the White House.”

“Our goal is to make sure that doesn’t happen,” Brown said. “The clearest way to handle that is to make sure we close the border.”

Shaheen agreed that the threat from ISIS is “very real” but said that the best way to handle the militants is to strengthen the coalition fighting them. She disagreed with Brown that an “occupying force” should have been left in Iraq.

With HB-1 visas likely on the horizon, the candidates each offered their take on the plan. Shaheen called the current system “broken.”

“[The visa system] is not working now for the tourism industry here, for our farming industry here, for our high tech companies,” Shaheen said. “The [immigration] bill that we passed starts first with addressing security at the border.”

Brown said he wouldn’t have voted for that legislation because it provided incentives for illegal immigration during the “coming out period” and he did not agree with the language that expanded the definition of a refugee.

“I cannot provide EBT cards, preferential housing and other benefits for people who have broken our laws,” Brown said. “[The bill] immediately gives an opportunity for the president to authorize 11 million people to get jobs. I want to fight for jobs for people in New Hampshire.”

He said that Shaheen’s legislative record when it comes to businesses proves she is not working to bring jobs to the state. He says the senator has a zero rating with the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and an “F” with the Chamber of Commerce.

Shaheen jumped on Brown holding up her NFIB rating as evidence that she is bad for businesses, saying that the group is funded by the Koch Brothers and drawing applause from the audience. She said she crafted the Small Business Jobs Act and voted for the American Jobs Act, both of which Brown voted against while Massachusetts senator.

The candidates started actively arguing when the debate moved on to the topic of energy. Brown claimed that Shaheen was against nuclear energy, to which the incumbent quickly interjected, saying, “No, I’m not.”

“Where did you get that?” she asked Brown.

“Senator, when the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant was in effect you made an effort to stop it,” Brown responded.

“No, I didn’t,” Shaheen shot back.

“Senator, with respect you did,” Brown said.

“I was not in office at the time,” Shaheen said, prompting uproar from the gallery.

Brown then tried to corner her regarding raising the national energy tax, a charge that she says independent fact-checkers have called “false.”

Shaheen closed the debate with a scathing critique of her opponent’s intentions for gunning for her seat.

“Senator Brown, when he lost his race, he didn’t move to New Hampshire and say ‘I want to get involved in this state.’ He thought about running for the Senate again… Then he thought about running for governor of Massachusetts, then he went to Iowa and talked about running for president,” Shaheen said. “Well, I don’t think New Hampshire is a consolation prize.”

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Independent Candidate Makes Debut at Connecticut Governor’s Debate

Monday, October 20th, 2014 - by TG Branfalt Jr.

Visconti goes after Gov. Malloy: “Legal gun owners deserve respect…they want their rights.”

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With Strategies Missing the Mark, Shaheen Edge on Brown Narrows to 2 Points

Friday, October 17th, 2014 - by TG Branfalt Jr.

Down to the wire in New Hampshire as Dem incumbent tries to hold on to seat.

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Shaheen, Brown Lock Horns Over Hobby Lobby, Obama

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 - by TG Branfalt Jr.

Incumbent goes after GOP candidate's Wall Street ties in debate, while Brown focuses on her ties to the president.

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Nationalizing the New Hampshire Senate Race Appears to Be Working for Brown

Monday, October 13th, 2014 - by TG Branfalt Jr.

ISIS on the campaign trail: “I want to secure the border, keep out the people that would do us harm," Brown says.

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Jobs and Education Emerge as Key Issues in Tight Connecticut Governor’s Race

Sunday, October 12th, 2014 - by TG Branfalt Jr.

State is now on track to have a $1.1 billion deficit in 2015, but report claims cutting taxes to close gap would shed more jobs.

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Dead Heat in Connecticut Governor’s Race as Malloy, Foley Trade Barbs

Saturday, October 11th, 2014 - by TG Branfalt Jr.

Foley lost to Malloy in the 2010 governor’s race by fewer than 7,000 votes.

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Connecticut Governor Releases 4 Years of Tax Returns; Cleared of Donation Violations

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014 - by TG Branfalt Jr.

Dem Malloy was accused of taking $50,750 in "offensive" and "disturbing" campaign donations.

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Brown Faces Uphill Battle in Race Against Shaheen

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 - by TG Branfalt Jr.

Can "nationalizing" the race -- and a boost from Rand Paul -- help the GOP?

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Final Stretch for Republicans Hoping to Win Shaheen’s Senate Seat

Sunday, September 7th, 2014 - by TG Branfalt Jr.

Brown's challengers say they're the better choice to defeat incumbent and turn seat red.

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McCain Endorses Brown as GOP Attacks Shaheen’s Town Hall Appearances

Thursday, August 28th, 2014 - by TG Branfalt Jr.

Turns focus to foreign policy in campaign to oust Shaheen.

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Things Looking Up for GOP in N.H.? Sliver of Separation Between Brown and Shaheen

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 - by TG Branfalt Jr.

Shaheen’s showing could be the result of her alliance with President Obama.

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Foley Bests GOP Challengers to Face Connecticut Gov. Malloy

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 - by TG Branfalt Jr.

Last time the two faced off, in 2010, the Dem won by a thin margin.

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Brown Rolls Out New Strategies as Poll Finds Him Gaining Ground

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 - by TG Branfalt Jr.

Takes aim at Shaheen's “pro-amnesty” policies, saying, “It’s time for us to secure the border once and for all.”

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Crowdfunded Super PAC Aims to Change Money Influence in Elections, Starting with N.H.

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014 - by TG Branfalt Jr.

Group favoring “small donor public funding” of elections tips hat to Brown challenger for GOP nod. (For complete 2014 midterm coverage, get your campaign fix on The Grid.)

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Labeled a ‘Spoiler’ by Some, Third-Party Connecticut Candidate Aims for Shake-Up

Sunday, July 27th, 2014 - by TG Branfalt Jr.

“I found myself moving back into the political fray as a way to talk about the problems that I saw," says Pelto. (For complete 2014 midterm coverage, get your campaign fix on The Grid.)

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GOP Gubernatorial Hopeful in Conn. Would Keep Common Core for Bad Schools

Friday, July 25th, 2014 - by TG Branfalt Jr.

Foley, McKinney face off over budget and more in quest to challenge Malloy. (For complete 2014 midterm coverage, get your campaign fix on The Grid.)

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Trouble for Brown Against Dem Incumbent in New Hampshire

Saturday, July 19th, 2014 - by TG Branfalt Jr.

Shaheen widens gap in poll and hauls in campaign cash.

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Brown Falters in Conservative Straw Poll

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014 - by TG Branfalt Jr.

Coalition on the right pushes back against “establishment” Republican candidate in the N.H. Senate race. (For complete 2014 midterm coverage, get your campaign fix on The Grid.)

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Romney to Endorse Brown in Race to Unseat Shaheen

Friday, June 27th, 2014 - by TG Branfalt Jr.

Jumping into Senate showdown at a site familiar to the onetime presidential hopeful. (For complete 2014 midterm coverage, get your campaign fix on The Grid.)

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N.H. GOP Senate Hopefuls Face Off Over Party Unity, the VA and More

Friday, June 27th, 2014 - by TG Branfalt Jr.

The battle on the right to replace Shaheen.

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Brown ‘Trying to Buy a Senate Seat,’ Says GOP Gunning for N.H. Nod

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014 - by TG Branfalt Jr.

Meet Karen Testerman: “We need people with moral fiber, a strong backbone and the desire to restore the Constitutional Republic." (For complete 2014 midterm coverage, get your campaign fix on The Grid.)

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Brown Agrees to Additional GOP Debates in New Hampshire

Friday, June 20th, 2014 - by TG Branfalt Jr.

Some Republican hopefuls fight back against party's effort to ink unity pledge. (For complete 2014 midterm coverage, get your campaign fix on The Grid.)

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