It might seem odd to connect a major battle in our American Revolution and a harried Civil War president with the governor’s race in New Hampshire — but the connection between the three may prove to be genuine.
“The Battle of King’s Mountain” was a 1780 clash on the North and South Carolina border between American “patriots” (rebels, Whigs) and their fellow “loyalist” colonists (pro-British, Tories). The revolutionaries emerged victorious, providing a pivotal moment in England’s Southern campaign: a desperately needed triumph for the beleaguered patriot militia following successive defeats at the hands of Lord Cornwallis. Forced by this set-back to scuttle plans for pressing further north, the British general retreated south. The rebels, of course, went on to gain their Liberty from the oppressive “Mother Country”.
Meanwhile, Abraham Lincoln, who decades later ushered America through arguably her darkest era during our War Between the States, and who is widely considered one of our greatest presidents, wasn’t always the political and historical golden-haired boy of modern lore. In his pre-presidential experience, over a span of nearly thirty years, the “Illinois Rail Splitter” fell short of victory in at least eight political contests. Then came 1861 and his elevation to the Oval Office.
Which brings us to Ovide LaMontagne, 2012 Republican candidate for New Hampshire governor. A disappointing showing in 1996’s Granite State gubernatorial race, and a heartbreaking squeaker loss in New Hampshire ‘s 2010 U.S. Senate primary doubtless would have taken the wind out of many a public-office aspirant — but not Ovide. This, his third foray into the electoral field of battle, bids fair to prove “the charm” for the fourth-generation Manchester, NH native — at which point, he’ll no longer be addressed merely by his colorfully identifiable, single-word moniker “Ovide”, but “Governor LaMontagne.”
The Battle of King’s Mountain, the career of Abraham Lincoln — we could toss in the dogged profile of a young British officer, eventually American Revolutionary War General, named George Washington and the United States’ earliest, doughty efforts in the Second World War — all attest to the power of perseverance, the wonders of what often follows when determined individuals refuse to accept “no” for an answer. Many of us are expecting to add Ovide LaMontagne — soon to occupy the New Hampshire state capitol’s corner office — to that roster of the indefatigable.
One-Hundred-forty years after thirteen outmatched colonies prevailed against Great Britain, a successor to “Honest Abe” vouched, ““Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence … Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent,” (President Calvin Coolidge).
John Quincy Adams, a White House predecessor to both Lincoln and Coolidge, echoed, “Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.”
If Ovide LaMontagne is not familiar with these exact quotes, he’s clearly in agreement with the principles they represent – and that commitment has brought him, after some previous let-downs, to the brink of victory in his home state.
In the wake of “Ovide” ‘s most recent, and impressive, primary victory over Republican candidate Kevin Smith, it occurred to me that Mr. Smith, a genuinely fine man, should take heart concerning a possible future in Granite State leadership. Ironically, he’d do well to consider the resoluteness of the one who bested him in 2012’s challenge: Ovide LaMontagne, a solid conservative who hasn’t let former disappointments deter him and so, currently stands poised to dramatically defy disappointment this time around.
Image: The Battle of Kings Mountain; courtesy of National Park Service; www.nps.gov/history/
history/online_books/hh/22/hh22h.htm; author F.C. Yohn; public domain/copyright expired.
Image: Young Abraham Lincoln; courtesy of United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division; author Lithographer: Grozelier, Leopold (1830-1865) Painter: Hicks, Thomas, 1823-1890