NHDP - Aprils Fools: For NHGOP April Showers Brought Flood of Scandals

For the New Hampshire Republican State Committee, April showers brought not flowers but instead a never ending flood of scandals and embarrassment.  When the month started with the NHGOP's treasurer accusing embattled Chair Jennifer Horn of being "a felon" and the "greatest present liability" facing New Hampshire Republicans it was hard to imagine things could get any worse for the NHGOP.  But they did AgainAnd again And again.


Just days later, a new lien, in addition to one held by the IRS, was placed on Horn for unpaid credit card debt and the Coos County Republicans cast a unanimous vote of no confidence against her.


The next scandal to rock the NHGOP would end with the extremely conservative Union Leader editorial page taking New Hampshire Republicans to task.  Former NHGOP Chairman Jack Kimball and two Republican State Representatives demanded that their fellow lawmakers be arrested and thrown in prison by the U.S. Marshal Service for voting in opposition to them.  The embarrassment prompted the former Republican Congressman and personal attorney to disgraced former Speaker Bill O'Brien to chastise them as "constitutional illiterates" adding they were "embarrassing to my party and to the state." 


That disaster was soon eclipsed by a more serious long-term problem as New Hampshire Republicans were reluctantly forced to consider their D-team of failed former Congressmen Frank Guinta and Jeb Bradley as candidates in 2014. Public polling revealed that both baggage laden Republicans are viewed negatively by New Hampshire voters and national Republicans were understandably not "terribly excited" about either. 


But the ultimate humiliation came as their own state party Chair openly salivated about the possibility of a carpetbagger run by rejected Massachusetts politician Scott Brown, promising voters would give him "an honest chance."  The Brown trail balloon was lampooned as something between 'a stupid idea,' and 'delusional.'  In public polls, over half the state - 54% of New Hampshire voters - told him not to run for office in their state, and nearly two-thirds said they don't consider him a Granite Stater. Sadly, for New Hampshire and the Republican Party the worse was still yet to come.


Republican State Representative Peter Hansen became the NHGOP's and the entire state's next shameful national embarrassment when he referred to women as "vagina's" in State House emails to other legislators. Though even his weekly hometown paper demanded he resign citing his prolonged refusal to apologize for days - Senator Kelly Ayotte, Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, and House Republican Leader Gene Chandler deemed him worthy to remain in office.


One of Hansen's Republican colleagues in the State House Stella Tremblay wasted no time following in his footsteps.  While the hunt was still on for suspects in the Boston Marathon Bombings, she began insisting the tragedy was an "attack by our own government."  Instead of apologizing, she doubled down on her chilling and vile claim. Even for the New Hampshire Republican Party, which has become synonymous with the Tea Party and radical extremism, Tremblay's claims were a new low.  Despite calls for her to step down, and her refusal to make even the smallest apology, Ayotte, Bradley, Chandler and Horn refused to demand her resignation.


But the biggest crisis for New Hampshire Republicans was the massive backlash again Kelly Ayotte's vote opposing the bipartisan compromise legislation to expand background checks.  It resulted in a harsh criticism from Granite Staters that sent her approval rating into free fall.  The Concord Monitor said her explanation was "utter nonsense." Both the Keene Sentinel and Portsmouth Herald called on voters to hold her accountable in 2016. 


From top to bottom the New Hampshire Republican Party was a complete and utter embarrassment in April.  Barely a single 24 hour period existed in which Republicans were not the center of a developing scandal, a national embarrassment, or dodging resignation demands.  There is little hope for next month as NHGOP leaders have steadfastly refused to take responsibility and end the epidemic of shockingly inappropriate behavior by their Tea Party colleagues.