One of Barack Obama's four New Hampshire co-chairs, who is also one of the state's most prominent lobbyists, entered the conversation of the Democratic presidential race last night with this phrase from Hillary Clinton at the debate:
"When it comes to lobbyists, you know that Senator Obama's chair in New Hampshire is a lobbyist. He lobbies for the drug companies."
"Not true," said Obama.
But it is true.
And while the lobbyist, named Jim Demers, is usually a staple of the spin room circuit, he was nowhere to be found last night. (He also has not returned a call to the Globe.)
Who is Demers?
Demers heads up a lobby firm of his own name, The Demers Group. He was also a Democratic nominee for Congress in 1986. He is respected by legislative leaders from both parties and is relied on by reporters to be very knowledgeable with the latest statehouse rumor or how pieces of legislation are moving. He is also a frequent Democratic analyst for WMUR-TV.
He gives thousands in contributions to the state Democratic Party and Democratic campaigns. In 2004, he headed up campaign for Dick Gephardt in the state. And to aid in that effort Demers purchased an RV from eBay that he then drove around the state with Gephardt to campaign events.