Earlier today, I noticed that the New Hampshire Union Leader mentioned my friend Patrick Hynes in connection with a hot issue in a state-legislature election this month. The U-L reported that the state Senate election had turned “negative”, which usually means that one side (or both) has started talking about their opponent’s record. In this case, though, the Democrats tried attacking Patrick as the evildoer, while somehow arguing that their candidate’s record as a judge was irrelevant. No, I’m serious:

Douglas Lambert of Gilford, who runs the conservative Granite Grok Web site, posted on fellow Republican Patrick Hynes’ NowHampshire.com a story recounting that:

— In 1997, Martin released on personal recognizance a man charged with walking naked into a public women’s restroom and accosting a woman, although he had been previously convicted of sexual assault.

— In 1996, Martin rendered a verdict of not guilty to misdemeanor charges in the case of a campground owner who had been accused of violating privacy rights when he installed audio and video cameras in a campground public restroom to deter vandalism.

Bear in mind that Bud Martin is running on his record as a judge to get people to vote for him for state Senate. I can see where the second example could have extenuating circumstances, although you’d have to be a moron to think that installing cameras in a public bathroom would be fine and dandy. However, letting a known sex offender out on his own recognizance on an attempted sexual assault certainly seems like fair game to question Martin’s judgment.

But that’s not the way Martin’s team saw it. They claimed that Martin’s rulings from twelve years ago have no relevance — but take a look at the contortions they go through to blame Patrick:

Party executive director Michael Brunelle blamed Hynes for posting the blog, saying he has a history of “negative campaign tactics.”

Brunelle noted that Hynes formerly worked for a GOP consulting firm and ran a Web site that launched negative attacks against 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry.

He said that Hynes is a “long-time associate” of Charles McGee, who was convicted in connection with the GOP “phone-jamming scandal” of 2002 and who works for a printing firm used by Bradley.

Um, OK. Patrick had a blog in 2004 and he didn’t like Kerry. He knows McGee, who used a printer for whom Jeb Bradley worked. And that’s relevant how?

After I stopped laughing, I got Patrick on the line and interviewed him about this story. Surprisingly, he’s laughing about it too, both for the Democratic reaction and the credulous treatment it gets from U-L reporter John DiStaso.