2014 will see many dozens of fresh voices on both side of the ticket with Free Stater connections, and many will win.
— Free Stater and former GOP state Rep. Seth Cohn
State House candidates who moved to New Hampshire as part of the Free State Project won at least 11 seats in last week’s election. Five newcomers will join six House incumbents with the stated goal of taking over state and local governments, slashing budgets and eliminating federal “interference.” The group’s history and goals are documented in a comprehensive report from Saving NH.
Free State Project movers will have about the same number of House seats as last session when they held 12 to 14 seats. This year, however, three of them will caucus with Democrats, including Nashua’s Michael Garcia and Manchester Representatives Joel Winters and Tim O’Flaherty. O’Flaherty beat out his roommate, fellow Free Stater Dan Garthwaite, in a campaign lampooned by Comedy Central.
Free State Project president Carla Gericke warns, you ain’t seen nothing yet:
Over the past eight years, FSP participants who have become state representatives went from zero to 1, to four, to 12-14 in 2010, to eleven this cycle. We only have 1,100 movers on the ground. With only 5% of our goal movers in NH, political FSP participants held onto the status quo while Republicans got trounced. Baby steps, people. It ain’t called a “project” for nothing! … 20,000 movers could translate into 200 state reps, half the house. Imagine what fun would ensue.
The New Hampshire Constitution requires the question of whether to hold a constitutional convention to be submitted to the people at least once every ten years. That question will appear on the ballot in November as Question #3.
If a simple majority of the voters who vote on Question #3 support it, 400 delegates, elected by House district, will gather for a constitutional convention. The convention may, by a three-fifths vote, propose amendments to the state Constitution, which would then go before the voters and would require a two-thirds vote to pass.
On the Porcupines Facebook page, several Free Staters, including state House Reps. Seth Cohn and Jenn Coffey, debated the question.
Cohn supports it as a means to bypass the state Senate, which has blocked some of the radical amendments proposed by the House. Coffey thinks it’s “risky” and could lead to a “runaway” convention that would propose eliminating the Second Amendment.
The consensus among others who joined the conversation was to wait ten years until more Free Staters have moved to the state. “Imagine what could be done with 1000 more movers. 2000 more. etc.”
Excerpts from the full discussion follow below the fold.
Republican House candidate and Free State Project sympathizer Kevin Kervick has abandoned his party’s presidential nominee in favor of Libertarian Gary Johnson.
The New Hampshire Libertarian Party has apparently qualified for the November General Election despite Republican efforts to keep them off the ballot. The Rockingham District 30 candidate took to Patch to explain why he will not be voting for Mitt Romney:
The establishment power brokers within the party are holding on tightly to their influence, and instead of welcoming new energy to the party that could make it viable, they are alienating that new energy. … They seem to be more concerned about the present than the future. The party is getting older and more culturally homogenous, and yet it seems to be doing nothing to diversify. It is stuck in the past.
“I agree with Kevin 100%,” wrote outgoing GOP/Free Stater Rep. Seth Cohn, “and that’s why I’m also publicly endorsing Gary Johnson for President.”
Johnson is no stranger to the Granite State. Before seeking the presidency as a Libertarian, Johnson ran for the Republican nomination. He made numerous campaign visits to the state and was endorsed by three GOP state House Representatives. In May, a Public Policy Polling survey of New Hampshire voters found Johnson received 7% of the vote when included as a third party candidate.
The most popular posts with our readers last month all featured online attacks by Republican politicians accosting other political leaders. In case you missed them the first time around, here’s a recap:
GOP state Rep. Jon Richardson didn’t mince words describing House Majority Leader Peter Silva after Silva publicly attacked fellow Republicans who voted against the education funding amendment.
On the eve of President Obama’s visit to Durham, the former chairman of the New Hampshire GOP distributed an email using derogatory language to refer to the president.
GOP state Rep. Seth Cohn called for the removal of New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner after Gardner moved up the deadline for third parties to identify their candidates.
Following the near-riot that followed the failed birther challenge last year, Birther Queen Orly Taitz wrote a letter to House Speaker Bill O’Brien demanding Secretary of State Bill Gardner be removed from office “due to egregious elections fraud, aiding and abetting fraud, forgery and possibly treason.”
Are you nuts? asked former House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt.
“Bill Gardner is a New Hampshire treasure who has worked tirelessly for Granite Staters and the [preservation] of our special political culture. The fact that he has drawn this ire establishes his good judgment. … Please, Dr. Taitz, go away and leave New Hampshire alone.”
Today, GOP Free Stater Rep. Seth Cohn picked up the baton from Taitz and called for the removal of Gardner and Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan. “Scanlan and Gardner are the problem,” wrote Cohn in an online comment. “Time to replace them.”
Cohn was responding to a Kevin Landrigan account of legislation that moves up the deadline for third parties to identify their candidates. The legislation, passed by the House and Senate on voice votes, was requested by the Secretary of State’s office due to federal election laws that require the state to send ballots to overseas residents and military voters earlier than before.
When New Hampshire’s Republican lawmakers aren’t using the “All Representatives” email list to publicly embarrass themselves, they generally use Facebook. The latest episode involves a pissing contest between GOP/Free Stater Rep. Seth Cohn and House Legal Counsel Ed Mosca. Eventually Mosca took his ball and went home. He followed House Speaker Bill O’Brien’s lead and defriended Cohn.
Ed Mosca defriended me over this…
by Seth Cohn on Tuesday, June 5, 2012 at 11:12pm ·
Ed posted this, and I saw it thank to my FB ticker, and linked to it a few places, and luckily had it open, and guess what, he defriended me, to hide it from me. Oh well, Ed, too bad. You wrote it, It’s public. Welcome to Facebook, maybe next time, you’ll understand what got DJ into trouble.
Bill O’Brien’s reign as state House Speaker has been described as “a self-drawn caricature of vindictiveness and power run amok.” He has berated lawmakers who disagreed with him and removed those who challenged him from committee assignments and leadership positions. As retribution for political differences, he has even refused to accommodate those with physical disabilities.
Vaillancourt spoke truth to power, and I wish he and others including myself had stood up sooner… its taken me much of this year to realize that when dishonorable people lead, even the right directions, its only a matter of time before they throw all of the honorable folks under the bus. Steve not only deserves reelection, he’s more honorable than most of the House who have excused too much dishonor at the top.
For this act of disloyalty, the Speaker exacted the ultimate revenge. He defriended Cohn on Facebook.