While New Hampshire citizens managed to shoo carpet-bagger Scott Brown out of the state and return Democrat Jeanne Shaheen to the Senate and Annie Kuster back to the House on the national level, Democrats have had some losses, mostly in the state house as extremist libertarians along with some extremist Tea Partiers gained control. Some of the traditionally more reasonable Republicans did ride on the GOP slide such as Gene Chandler who Bill O’Brien replaced as house speaker in the 2010 Tea Party sweep.
But we’re not here to focus on moderates, we’d rather keep you updated on the people to watch closely this upcoming session, in particular those with extremist, anarcho-capitalists views and ambitions. We’re speaking of course of the self described Free Staters (read more indepth about them here) that have professed to come and destroy state government, break New Hampshire from the union and create their own libertarian paradise, whether the rest of the New Hampshire citizens want it or not.
Its important to note that New Hampshire has the largest legislative body in the country with 424 members. State house members, of which there are 400 must fight for their seat every two years, the state senators makeup the remaining 24. The term pay is a total $100 dollars a year, plus transportation expense. As a result the party leadership on either side prefers to spend their time and energy on the more lucrative senate seats leaving most state reps to fend for themselves. This creates a window of opportunity for all kinds of regular folks to run as long as they’ve got the time and money to spend running a campaign and running back and forth to the state house during session time. Those last qualifications tend to weed out the herd so to speak, leaving most often only the self employed, those who have a source of sustenance beyond trading their time and hard labor for cash and the retired. There’s an old saying about who runs in New Hampshire, “The three r’s: the rich, the retired and the —” since the last is not so polite we’ll leave that for you to figure out.
Therefore, it was only a matter of time that the adherents to the mission of “Free Stater” takeover would figure out that possibly dismantling from inside might be pretty easy. At least the first part; getting elected. Traditionally, because the districts which break down into wards in larger areas are so numerous, most regular people just don’t pay a whole lot of attention to who is on the ticket. With two or three or even as many as seven seats available for their region, voters will often vote the party ticket they like and be done with it. This has resulted traditionally in all sorts of odd characters getting elected often to the later humiliation of the party they are supposed to represent.
But in the case of the Free Staters; they aren’t people on a personal political mission or tangent or people running to protect a pet area of government regulation or grind a particular ax; the Free Staters are on a greater mission and are organized and committed. As a result we’ve seen a gradual trickle of Free Stater followers and believers run in campaigns, usually as Republicans. Democratic wards, particularly those in the larger cities such as Manchester and Nashua, tend to have a diverse population of people who traditionally vote Democratic, whether because of old union sympathies or ethnic differences. They will tend to vote the ticket even if they haven’t had the chance to pay attention as much. Why not? Makes sense, if you are pro-labor you know Republicans aren’t. If you want a candidate who will vote for programs that help poor or elderly people, you’d vote Democratic, Republicans don’t profess to care about poor people or the elderly.
So Free Staters have figured out the shotgun approach is best. If all you want to do is get in, no matter how then why not run as a Democrat, especially in wards that typically vote Democratic but may be more socially disenfranchised and may not personally know or even have heard of their house rep or senator. So running as a Democrat has been the Free Stater practice now for at least the last two sessions. As shown here, its a strategy that they refuse to give up on even though this second try shows only one success with that strategy.
So without further ado, here’s the list, with the party they ran under also noted and the history (thanks to Granite State Progress for their work on this) of those who have served in the house before linked to their names. We considered putting pictures to the names, but we’re not here to promote these people or their version of libertarianism.
Glen Aldrich (R) – Belknap District 2
Mike Sylvia (R) – Belknap District 6
Ed Comeau (R) – Carroll District 5
Robert Hull (R) – Grafton District 9
Keith Murphy (R) – Hillsborough District 7
Elizabeth Edwards (D) – Hillsborough District 11
Amanda Boutin (D) – Hillsborough District 11
Keith Ammon (R) – Hillsborough District 40
Brian Seaworth (R) – Merrimack District 20
Dan McGuire (R) – Merrimack District 21
Carol McGuire (R) – Merrimack District 29
Jason Osborne (R) – Rockingham District 4
Shem Kellogg (R) – Rockingham District 14
Adam Schroadter (R) – Rockingham District 17
Max Abramson (R) – Rockingham District 20
Laura Jones (R) – Stafford District 24
Elizabeth Edwards with her wife Caitlin Appell.
Like many young libertarians, Edwards has said to some she found a home within the FSP for her sexual orientation freedom. Really? The Democrats have no history of working for and defending LGBT rights? More than likely its that extremist libertarianism might be more appealing to someone who spent some time as an intern at the Koch Brothers’ founded Cato Institute. A part of the obstructive factor of the efforts at forming an Occupy in New Hampshire, Edwards once seemed near an emotional breakdown during an informational presentation about the Koch Brothers corporate web of power, protesting that it was “one-sided” and unfair. What’s interesting to note, besides the one Free Stater, Elizabeth Edwards, the rest that won ran were Republicans, so hopefully people did actually pay attention to some extent.
We did find Elizabeth Edwards at the polling place doing her obligatory visibility; only trouble was, she was standing with the Republicans rather than with the Democrats. When asked why she hesitated and then replied, “Well we can be everywhere.” which is true, the candidates and their supporters can stand anywhere. But Elizabeth obviously felt more comfortable standing with the Republicans and Tea Party extremists and two of the Free Staters (that lost their bid, Eileen Landies and Tim O’Flaherty). Too bad for Eileen and Tim since they did have a chance to show their colors last session. Guess that was enough for the voters in Manchester.
O’Flaherty immigrated to New Hampshire as a converted Free Stater with the sole intention of running as a Democrat to get into the heart of the political process and begin the mandatory deconstruction. He was quoted during his time in office as saying he “hated serving” because he hated government. He hated it so much he decided to ask for another term. It was also observed that although he ran as a Democrat he regularly caucused with Republicans. For a group of anarchists its really quite something that they consider it worth stretching their anarchist tent enough to allow some establishment Republicans in who seem to have no problem finding ways to increase government. Apparently government isn’t such a problem after all when its used to disenfranchise voters, keep women from exercising their rights to reproductive healthcare and to allow corporations a free ride on the public’s dollar.
Unfortunately the Republicans they caucused with last term didn’t seem to be in on their plan to dismantle government and despite their best efforts, last we knew, its still in place ready for a new term of serious civic government peppered with shenanigans of the likes of these folks. We’ll be watching and reporting. Stay tuned.