In what has become an annual rite, activists gathered in front of the State House Sunday, the pot-smokers “holiday” of April 20, to protest marijuana laws. This year, reports Free Keene’s Ian Freeman, “even a couple of NH state representatives got into the action:”
Cannabis was smoked by many and even a couple of NH state representatives got into the action, including Mike Sylvia, who had pledged to toke up if there were enough people wearing fancy outfits to the event. Kudos to Mike and all the others who had the courage to come out and face possible misdemeanor charges for possession of a plant. Of course, as with previous years, the police left us alone – this year not even making an appearance besides driving by on Main St.
After 18 years in the New Hampshire House, Speaker Terie Norelli — my representative and neighbor in Portsmouth Ward 2 — announced she will not seek re-election this fall. Blue Hampshire founder Dean Barker pays tribute to the unique skills Norelli brought to the job:
I know of no one who has been better able to balance the more progressive policy ideas of House members with the agenda of establishment New Hampshire Democrats, while giving each side equal weight. […]
I’ve only met Terie once or twice, and each time only pleasantries were exchanged. But I have tremendous respect for how effective she has been in moving good legislation through the House while equally balancing the aims of progressive and establishment Democrats. An almost impossible task and a thankless job. One that has allies angry at you for one reason or another during a legislative season no matter how skilled you are at threading the needle of compromise.
Marriage equality, to use just one example. Today it is an inevitable national movement, When New Hampshire achieved it, it was a rarity among states and represented a major progressive victory. There were a few key people responsible for that victory; Terie Norelli is one of them.
"I feel sorry for the next House Speaker," Barker concludes. "The bar has been set very, very high."
Cliven Bundy, the Nevada cattle rancher who inspired armed militiamen to face off with federal law enforcement, has become a cause célèbre among conservative activists and right-wing media outlets.
"If Bundy was black, female, Muslim — indeed, anything other than a rich male in rural America," writes Robert Azzi in the Portsmouth Herald, "this would be portrayed on Fox News as lazy, indolent, tax cheats trying to bilk hard-working Americans:
The embrace of Bundy, who has been stealing from the taxpayers for years — he’s in arrears about $1 million — is just the most recent manifestation of an incoherent philosophy that privileges a minority while disenfranchising most Americans.
It’s really tiresome, ignorant and un-American. It reinforces a false narrative that conservatives have a special privilege — a privilege to defy any laws they happen not to like — as long as they offer “constitutional rights” or “religious belief” as their excuse, all while denying the opportunity for similar privileges to others.
Bundy, who doesn’t believe in the “United States government as even existing,” is not acting out of civil disobedience, which is about changing unjust laws, but out of greed, exception and privilege.
One New Hampshire politician who has embraced Bundy is U.S. Senate candidate Karen Testerman. In an email to supporters, the conservative activist expressed her solidarity with the armed protesters who converged on the Bundy ranch.
"[P]lease pray for those Freedom Fighters,” she wrote, “especially our Granite Staters, who have gone to the Bundy Ranch in Nevada to help the Bundy family defend their cattle and their rights.”
"These efforts [by the federal government] threaten our citizens, attack our property rights, and intimidate us through the over-reaching power of the ‘Big Government,’ " she warned.
This morning, during a radio interview with Jack Heath on WGIR 610, Republican gubernatorial candidate Walt Havenstein refused to state his positions on marriage equality and a woman’s right to choose:
Heath: Let me ask you for clarity on this show. Are you pro-life or pro-choice?
Havenstein: No. Jack, I have very strong personal views on that issue, as other people do. I’m not going to make that part of my campaign or governing, frankly. I suspect it will come up not just here but in other places in the future, but I’m going to be focused on pro-growth, as opposed to the social issues.
Heath: But you know at a forum or debate, someone is going to say, “Mr. Havenstein, you’re running for governor. Are you pro-life, pro-choice? Do you support gay marriage?” Those are questions that you’re going to be asked. So would you just share a position on either?
Havenstein: No, I’m not going to share a position on either today.
Then, on his way over to WMUR for an interview with Josh McElveen, Havenstein apparently realized that his stonewall strategy was not going to fly. The former defense contractor addressed both issues with McElveen — by taking both sides:
#nhgov cand Walt Havenstein on gay marriage - supports law on the books but would consider bill to repeal. #nhpolitics #wmur— Josh McElveen (WMUR) (@JoshMcElveen) April 18, 2014
#nhgov cand Walt Havenstein (R) on abortion - pro choice but would support “reasonable restrictions” #nhpolitics #wmur— Josh McElveen (WMUR) (@JoshMcElveen) April 18, 2014
Odell Retiring. One Down, 6 to go!
— Aaron Day, Republican Liberty Caucus chair, on announcement by state Sen. Bob Odell (R-New London) that he will not seek re-election. The Facebook comment was subsequently deleted.
At a press conference last fall, the chair of the libertarian Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire promised to support a primary challenge for any Republican state senator who voted for the bipartisan compromise plan to expand Medicare.
“Anybody that votes for this federal expansion of Medicaid,” declared Aaron Day, “can expect a very serious set of challenges in terms of candidates and in terms of financial resources.”
Last night, the first RLC-backed candidate emerged. JP Marzullo, former Deering Selectman and currently Vice Chair of the State Republican Committee, announced he is contesting the District 8 state senate seat held by Bob Odell (R-Lempster).
“Senator Odell and I differ in several areas one of which is Healthcare,” Marzullo wrote on his web site, “I spent over 35 years in the healthcare industry and I believe there is a better way to deal with covering our most needy residents without taking Federal money.”
As Marzullo announced his candidacy, Day distributed a message endorsing his primary challenge. “The RLCNH endorses JP and I urge you to support him vigorously as he strives to reclaim our liberty and prosperity,” he wrote. “NH has been plagued by the engorgement of government at the state and federal level by politicians who don’t understand that you cannot be both compassionate and insolvent at the same time.”
The connection between Marzullo and the RLC is evident on Marzullo’s web site. The template for his site, candidate.nhlibertytour.com, is hosted on a RLC site that was used to publicize a speaking tour by Day to recruit libertarian candidates. Marzullo’s site, jp4nh.com can also be reached with a RLC address: district08.nhlibertytour.com.
Senate District 8 is a swing district with towns in Cheshire, Hillsborough, Merrimack and Sullivan counties. It has a Partisan Voting Index of R+1. Pres. Obama carried the district in 2012 by a 50.8% to 47.2% margin.
I’m going to be using the word “nullify” a lot. Once elected, I’m going to be rallying the troops in the legislature and hoping and pushing and doing everything we can to nullify, nullify, nullify. As much of the federal health care mandates that we can, as far as the E.P.A. mandates that we can, everything we can, we’re going to push back against Washington using our constitutional rights.
— Andrew Hemingway, Republican gubernatorial candidate, on his plan to reverse federal regulation
It is the liberty conservatives vs the hollow and vapid establishment again. What good is power if you stand for nothing? We must stop electing robots who kick the can down the road.
— State House Rep. Tim Comerford (R-Fremont) on Scott Brown’s Republican primary campaign for the U.S. Senate
Plans by gun rights advocates to “crash Scott Brown’s campaign kickoff” fizzled.
New Hampshire House candidate Harrison deBree organized the protest and created a Facebook event to promote it.
"Anti-Gun and Bloomberg endorsed Scott Brown is officially kicking-off his campaign at the Sheraton Hotel in Portsmouth, NH," he wrote. "Lets all dress up (suits, sport coats and slacks, or at least a button down shirt please) and bring SIGNS letting gun grabber Scott Brown know he is not welcome in New Hampshire politics."
It was not to be. Dozens of Democrats showed up to “welcome” Brown’s announcement — but the gun protest never materialized. The Democrats “way out numbered us,” deBree wrote in an online forum. We were “beaten” by the Democrats, he concluded.
One Republican protester who did show up was former state GOP chair Jack Kimball, who made a brief appearance on the sidewalk outside the Sheraton.
"Jack Kimball did show up but he quickly left as Ray Buckley the NHDP chair was there," wrote deBree. "Jack Kimball was telling me he didn’t want to be associated with Ray Buckley protesting Brown."
This is the last in a series of studies describing the partisan makeup of New Hampshire voting districts based on the 2008-2012 presidential vote in each district.
This map documents the partisan voting index for the five executive council districts. Previous posts took a look at the the state’s cities and towns, House districts and Senate districts.
See earlier posts for discussions of the Partisan Voter Index (PVI) and the methodology behind the calculations.
Susan B. Anthony List Candidate Fund, an anti-abortion political action committee, has endorsed state House Rep. Marilinda Garcia in her Republican primary contest with former state Sen. Gary Lambert to take on Congresswoman Ann Kuster.
“State Representative Garcia is a rising star in politics and we are proud to endorse her campaign,” said President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “Marilinda has proven track record of defending life in New Hampshire and is an original member of the SBA List’s National Pro-Life Woman’s Caucus.”
Garcia’s anti-abortion views are not in question. On her previous campaign web site, she wrote that she believes the U.S. Constitution prohibits abortion. Garcia described her position as “[b]elieving that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life and clarifying the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections as applicable to unborn children.”
SBA List did not explain why they endorsed Garcia over Lambert. Both candidates have nearly identical anti-choice voting records and are on the record supporting fetal homicide legislation, prohibiting the use of public funds for abortion services, requiring 24-hour notice for abortions, prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks and banning so-called partial-birth abortions.
Yesterday, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad proclaimed it Muslim Recognition Day in the Hawkeye State as Iowa Muslims gathered at the Capitol to discuss their faith and celebrate their heritage.
This was all too much for the gun rights advocates with the New Hampshire chapter of Gun Rights Across America. “You have got to be kidding,” the GRAA administrator wrote on their Facebook page. “Sadly this is true we just confirmed it with our Iowa folks.”
"wtf are they doing?" asked one member.
"Trying to piss off the Patriots from the looks of it," replied the administrator.