Image: Zach Stern / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
The 2012 Democratic wave swept many of the most ideological Republicans out of office in New Hampshire. A number of those lawmakers, who were defeated in 2012 or chose not to run for reelection, are on the ballot this year. Here are three of the most extreme who are attempting a comeback.
Jerry Bergevin (R-Manchester)
Jerry Bergevin made national headlines in 2012 when he claimed teaching the theory of evolution led to Nazi atrocities and the Columbine school shooting. The one-term Manchester Republican introduced legislation that would have required evolution to be taught as a theory “including the theorists’ political and ideological viewpoints and their position on the concept of atheism.”
"I want the full portrait of evolution and the people who came up with the ideas to be presented," he told the Concord Monitor. “It’s a worldview and it’s godless. Atheism has been tried in various societies, and they’ve been pretty criminal domestically and internationally. The Soviet Union, Cuba, the Nazis, China today: they don’t respect human rights. … Columbine, remember that? They were believers in evolution. That’s evidence right there,” he said.
Other bills sponsored by Bergevin included a resolution that would have urged Congress to amend the Internal Revenue Code to permit churches to engage in political campaigns; a bill that would have protected the right to discriminate against gay couples; and legislation that would have proclaimed March 31 of each year as a day to remember Terri Schiavo, the Florida woman who became a political football after she fell into a persistent vegetative state.
Bergevin is one of three Republicans vying for a seat in Hillsborough District 45, a two-member swing district (PVI: D+1) which includes Manchester Wards 10, 11 and 12.
David Bates (R-Windham)
Bates argued same-sex marriage is not a civil rights issue because homosexuality is a lifestyle choice. Bates told the Union Leader that “civil rights have to do with intrinsic qualities that a person just can’t change” such as race or gender. Homosexuality doesn’t meet that criterion, he said. “There’s no other example of any basis that we afford a civil right based upon a behavior or a preferential choice.”
As chairman of the House Election Law committee, Bates also supported “birther” legislation that would have required candidates to present their long-form birth certificates when filing to run in New Hampshire’s presidential primary. He told Talking Points Memo he couldn’t say for certain if the president was born in the United States. “I don’t know where the guy was born, I don’t care,” he said.
Bates is one of six Republicans competing for a seat in Rockingham District 7, a four-member overwhelmingly Republican district (PVI: R+15) in Windham.
Susan DeLemus (R-Rochester)
Susan DeLemus made national headlines when she disrupted a meeting of the Ballot Law Commission, which had ruled against an attempt by Orly Taitz to keep Pres. Obama off the ballot in the 2012 New Hampshire presidential primary.
The Union Leader reported DeLemus and Rep. Henry Accornero (R-Laconia) were so aggressive that Assistant Attorney General Matt Mavrogeorge feared for his safety and retreated to a locked office where he called security.
"It just makes me want to throw up," DeLemus said of the commission’s decision. “Let’s just bury the Constitution now and have a funeral.”
Delemus recently accused the president of committing treason for authorizing a prisoner exchange to free Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. “Our entire federal government is completely lawless!!!” she wrote on Facebook. “None of them can be trusted and should be considered FEDERAL TERRORISTS!!! The fact that Impeachment and recalls are not on the table right now screams and reeks of corruption.”
Susan DeLemus is running against incumbent Democrat Anne Grassie in Rochester Ward 4, a Democratic-leaning district (Strafford District 11 PVI: D+3).