Lee Quandt, the former Republican state representative from Exeter, warns that a number of extremists and Free Staters from the Bill O’Brien era are plotting their return:
On the state rep races some are predicting a 265 republican to democrat majority with, you got it, the famous “Bill the Bully O’Brien” as speaker once again. If you remember the last time he was speaker in two short years he turned the legislature into a cult and by doing that brought down the whole republican agenda and we lost the house.
Many of the same people who the voters rejected during the last election, let’s call them Billy bots because they couldn’t think for themselves, are running again. That includes a number of Free Staters who are still hell bent on taking control of NH and frustrated they can’t. We have Free Staters and Free State backers running in Exeter who are trying to keep a low profile knowing, like Exeter, many communities will not vote for them.
Former state House Rep. Lee Quandt (R-Exeter) has never hidden his disdain for former state House Speaker Bill O’Brien (who he calls “Bully O’Brien) or for the libertarian anarchists of the Free State Project. His blog postings are less frequent now — but no less biting.
On O’Brien running for Congress:
That means that every Republican that Free Bagger O’Brien screwed over can now have another shot at him. Republican from around the state will show up to hold signs for his opposition in the primary. Anybody that doesn’t believe [that] should rethink their position.
On the early movers from the Free State Project having second thoughts about living in New Hampshire:
Yesterday, state House Rep. Steve Vaillancourt warned of a GOP House leadership team seriously at odds with its caucus. Today, former Rep. Lee Quandt writes that conservatives are plotting to replace Republican Leader Gene Chandler with none other than former Speaker Bill O’Brien.
The latest going around with the remnants of the once respected House Republican Alliance is that they are circulating a letter for signatures, to Gene Chandler; the minority Republican Leader, requesting that he removes Shawn Jasper from his Republican leadership post….
Evidently Jasper offended the Free Staters who have taken control of the HRA and they want him removed.
What Chandler isn’t aware of is HRA is supposedly going to make a move of removing him from his position and replacing him with none other than Bully O’Brien.
The conservative HRA caucus, once headed by O’Brien, is now run by O’Brien’s Deputy Speaker Pamela Tucker, O’Brien confidant Rep. Al Baldasaro and Free Stater Rep. Carol McGuire.
Quandt, who was considering a challenge to O’Brien before he lost his seat in the 2012 election, says the coup could be successful. “I don’t think Gene has as many old guard Republicans in the House to back his play or defense against the Free Staters.”
Last week, Miscellany Blue was the first to report on former House Speaker Bill O’Brien’s Facebook update outlining his plan to reintroduce right-to-work legislation. O’Brien’s critics reacted with skepticism and derision.
He’s “plotting his come back,” warned New Hampshire Democratic Party chair Ray Buckley:
"O’Brien famously targeted and purged moderate GOP House members in this year’s fall primary for failing to support his radical agenda. Now, nearly two years away from the next election, O’Brien is at it again, using the House to plan his re-election strategy, rather than getting to work finding compromise solutions that will move New Hampshire forward."
Republicans former state Rep. Lee Quandt and Rep. Steve Vaillancourt feared a backlash against their party.
Quandt: The former speaker, O’Brien, has put in another right to work bill. What he says is that it is to find out who votes against it so they can be targeted in the next election. … It was pretty plain to see that O’Brien brought down the whole Republican agenda in the last election and now he’s looking at finishing off the survivors.
Vaillancourt: I suspect this is just Bill O’Brien being the consummate ideologue as we all know he is. Either that or he’s been reading Charge of the Light Brigade again… “into the valley of death rode the thousands”… is that how it went? O’Brien would have been great at Gallipoli!
Remembering the Speaker’s delaying tactics from last session, New Hampshire Business Review editor Jeff Feingold suggested the new House leadership might want to return the favor:
The former speaker says he’s all set to sponsor a right-to-work bill again, even thought it has absolutely zero chance of making it into law next session. Maybe they should keep him guessing when the vote on the bill will be held, when and if it gets that far.
Tim [Copeland], Matt [Quandt], and I are the only Republican candidates that I found that were not endorsed by the NH Republican Liberty Caucus. From what I’ve seen, this group is the crazy wing of the Free Staters and their plan to take over NH and turn it into an anarchist’s utopia of non-government.
— GOP state Rep. Lee Quandt, on the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire
GOP state Rep. Lee Quandt has long been singled out for criticism by the bloggers at GraniteGrok for his lack of ideological purity. They have labeled him a “Republican in Name Only" and described him as a "60% Republican who would sell out his own party to advance his progressive priorities.”
Today, he returned fire:
By my definition a Domestic Terrorist is anyone who, from an organized format, attacks and tries to terrorize anyone who disagrees with them; it is not always the nuts that go around blowing stuff up and shooting people. …
The vileness and venom they spew is really sickening. They tried to hide their out of control militia mentality under the guise of being Republicans; well, these people are not true Republicans and in my opinion have some kind of mental issues. They appear to be trying to bully, intimidate, berate and beat people who dare to think for themselves and disagree with them, into submission.
As their hopes are fading of taking over NH and turning it into a government less Wild West show they are becoming more desperate and, I believe, more dangerous and unstable.
GOP Rep. Lee Quandt says his party has abandoned Republicans who are members of a union — and the party will pay a price in November.
[W]e have two republicans running for governor, neither one seems to be all that appealing to the voters. Ovide has name recognition for losing all of his campaigns while Smith is known for running Cornerstone Policy Research, using this organization to attack those Republicans that disagreed with his philosophy; it is rumored that Smith is heavily supported by former governor Craig Benson.
If you are one of the thousands of NH Republicans who are also union members the choices are even clearer, both Republicans have no use of us and seem to be supporting Bill O’Brien who union Republicans have no use for.
Yesterday, in a fit of pique, state House Speaker Bill O’Brien barred two Concord Monitor reporters from attending a State House press conference.
O’Brien’s spokesperson Shannon Bettencourt explained that the action was retaliation for a political cartoon that had depicted O’Brien with an Adolph Hitler mustache. The Monitor published the cartoon in May following GOP Rep. Steve Vaillancourt’s infamous “Sieg Heil" salute on the House floor.
Bettencourt called the cartoon “one example of irresponsible choices made by the Monitor.”
"When the Concord Monitor proves they have chosen to become a responsible media outlet," she declared, "we’ll be happy to invite them to future media events.”
GOP Rep. Lee Quandt was embarrassed by the whole episode:
This asinine and immature act of stupidity was caught on camera…. Bully and his leadership team are acting like little kids who refuse to invite other kids to their birthday party so they can hurt their feelings.
If anyone knows Ann Marie Timmons who is a political reporter for the Concord Monitor, she is like the Mary Poppins of the press corps, just a kind, super fine person and to be treated this way in public is an absolute disgrace to the O’Brien speakers office and an embarrassment to the hard working State Reps and staff who work at the state house.
Patch is running a poll asking, “Does House Speaker William O’Brien deserve another term?” The unscientific poll doesn’t hold much interest for me, but the readers’ comments are quite entertaining.
When the conversation turned to reports of O’Brien bullying lawmakers who disagreed with him, a reader identifying himself as GOP Rep. Will Smith jumped to his defense:
[N]one of the so called “bullying” episodes EVER occurred! Emerson is a liar, the Senate Sargent at Arms is a union hack and was FIRED and he wasn’t even in the room and Tim Copeland is a union hack liar who also wasn’t there and never even had a conversation with the Speaker or majority leader.
That was all too much for Rep. Lee Quandt. “Is Rep. Will Smith unhinged?” asked Quandt.
Calling Emerson and Copeland liars is like calling Mary Poppins a hooker, just doesn’t fit and not credible.
GOP state Rep. Lee Quandt, one of House Speaker Bill O’Brien’s most vocal critics, announced he is “testing the waters” for a run at the House Speakership.
Last year, O’Brien removed Quandt from the House Finance Committee after he voted against the state budget. Quandt has accused O’Brien of bringing down the New Hampshire Republican Party and routinely refers to the Speaker as “Bully O’Brien.”
The Exeter lawmaker told the Portsmouth Herald that he expects a “wide-open race” as he predicts 100 of the state’s 300 GOP representatives will lose their bids for re-election.
“It’s time to put up or shut up,” Quandt said. “Since the speaker has thrown his name out to run again, I thought it would make for an interesting conversation.”
“I’m hearing some very good encouragement and I think there are a number of representatives that realize we need a change and we have to bring some respect back into the House and the process,” he said.
Republican state Rep. Lee Quandt writes that “the destruction of the Republican Party in New Hampshire is almost complete.” He details the wreckage (as only he can):
Some of our state reps also are locally elected officials, selectmen, budget committee, etc. Well, some of them either didn’t get elected to their positions, their family members didn’t get elected to a position or they were thrown out of local office.
They don’t seem to understand why because they believe that this insanity that we call legislative politics (the house) is what they think the voters wanted. Unfortunately, when the new people got elected they just talked amongst themselves, didn’t listen or talk to the voters, and proceeded to dissect state government.
Instead of creating jobs, we have caused the layoff of about 4,000 workers. Anybody proud of that is off their meds and out of touch with the reality of the last election.
Unfortunately, we have a good group of old fashion republicans that are simply overwhelmed by the craziness that is prevalent in the house. We are still counting votes to remove the speaker and waiting for the right spark to do it.
The number of high profile Republicans who went down to defeat in this year’s New Hampshire town elections was noteworthy.
House Deputy Republican Leader and Hudson Board of Selectmen Chairman Shawn Jasper lost his bid for reelection as Hudson Selectman.
Republican Liberty Alliance endorsed Rep. Colette Worsman was defeated in an attempt to retain her seat on the Meredith Board of Selectmen.
Long time GOP Rep. Ron Belanger lost his bid for the Salem Board of Selectmen.
Skip Murphy, of GraniteGrok fame, was defeated in his bid for reelection to the Gilford budget committee.
The state director of the conservative Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity advocacy organization, Corey Lewandowski, lost his election to Windham town treasurer.
GOP Rep. Lee Quandt says these losses foreshadow the results of the upcoming statewide election. He puts the blame squarely on the shoulders of House Speaker Bill O’Brien.
[A] surprising number of O’Brien supporters lost their seats in the local elections, either selectman or budget committee. I’m sure they can rationalize it away; but, I think we all can see the writing on the wall for the next election. The speaker has done something most other speakers could not do, bring down the Republican Party in NH; don’t take this lightly, it was no easy feat.