People who want to attend a town hall event for Rep. Carol Shea-Porter in the “Live Free or Die” state of New Hampshire better be able to pass through a metal detector.
The congresswoman, a Democrat, has scheduled her only two town hall recess events in federal buildings that require citizens to pass through heavy security checks. They’ll need to come early, too. The rooms only have room for roughly 100 people.
Men carrying guns to political events this summer have alarmed the media. The concerns began when a former Ron Paul supporter, William Kostric, brought a gun to a New Hampshire health care event that President Obama headlined in Portsmouth and escalated when another man brought an AR-15 semi automatic rifle to a health care event in Phoenix, Arizona.
“People have seen things on TV and we wanted everyone to feel comfortable and secure,” said Jamie Radice, communications director for the Ms. Shea-Porter in an email to the Washington Times.
Doug Lambert, a New Hampshire conservative blogger and activist who writes for granitegrok.com, is upset with locations. “The biggest issue I have with both venues that I have is the seating, which is about 100 people and I find that to be very prohibitive.”
Ms. Shea-Porter originally scheduled no public town halls over August recess, opting instead to hold teleconferences. Local news outlets reported more than 13,5000 constituents phoned in to a conference call last Friday.
This outraged her Republican opponents and caused some activists to feature her image on a milk carton as the “missing congresswoman.” Fox News and many other outlets picked up on the joke. She announced she would two town halls, both in federal buildings. Doors will open one hour before for security checks and seats will be granted on a first-come, first serve basis.
“It’s possible more than 100 people would want to come and if you have a venue with 100 people going through security checks tyou have put a certain stumbling block up for people before the event even begins,” said Mr. Lambert.
Security was not as high, however, at event Monday evening in Concord where the congresswoman schmoozed with progressive activists at a local Mexican restaurant.
www.BlueHampshire.com, a popular liberal blog, sponsored a “Blue Hampshire Bash” where Ms. Shea-Porter appeared with along with Democratic New Hampshire Rep. Paul Hodes and DailyKos Founder Markos Moulitsas Zuniga.
Dean Barker, managing editor for BlueHampshire.com, said in an email to the Washington Times that there was, “no security that I’m aware of, though the restaurant had every right to contact police if there was a disturbance on their private property.”
“It wasn’t a public event, and you had to pay to get in for the food, so that probably discouraged disrupters,” he added.
Mr. Lambert was among those protesters at the BlueHampshire event. He carried a sign featuring President Obama styled as The Joker outside the restaurant where the congresswoman dined with liberal activists.