If Channel Nine reporting is to be believed--and the station ran the story over and over again ad infinitum--for the second time in as many months, House Speaker Bill O'Brien has proven that he doesn't understand New Hampshire election law.
According to Channel 9, both O'Brien and gubernatorial candidate Kevin Smith are asking Frank Szabo, Hillsborough County Republican candidate for Sheriff, to get out of the race in the wake of his comment that he would use deadly force on abortion doctors.
Even as Szabo appears to be apologizing for the comment--he now says he would not use deadly force--he also says he'll stay in the race.
But the truth is, as reported here earlier this summer, in New Hampshire, there are only three reasons for getting off the ballot once the filing period is over. You must either die (Leo Pepino, of Manchester) has in fact died and been removed from the ballot; move out of the voting district (as Dick Green did several years ago when he decided he wanted to work at the development authority rather than run for Senate); or incur a serious illness since the filing.
As far as anyone can tell, Szabo is still very much alive, living in Hillsborough County, and has not contracted a debilitating illness since the filing period.
Thus, O'Brien and Smith are simply deceiving the voters by calling for Szabo to get out of the race.
Szabo can stop campaigning, be he cannot get off the ballot. One would think the current Speaker and a candidate for Governor would know that.
As far as I'm concerned, and I am a voter in the county, Szabo had virtually no chance of defeating incumbent James Hardy in the Republican primary, and now his slim chances have become none.
Thus, the call for him to leave the race is simply absurd. Republicans, including O'Brien who lives in Mt. Vernon and Smith who lives in Litchfield, can simply display their displeasure by voting for Sheriff Hardy September 11. (Hardy has been a fairly good sheriff; a bit too much of a big spender for my taste but after complaining about the need for more money, he manages to live within his budget—just barely!)
But no, in the afterglow of Missouri Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin's absurd abortion comments this week, O'Brien and Smith apparently decided that they have to distance themselves from Szabo and the abortion issue.
The fact that they chose to do so in a manner not consistent with New Hampshire law certainly does not make either candidate look very good.
Earlier this summer, O'Brien called for Democratic State Rep candidate (and bar room brawler) Patrick Garrity to get out of his Ward 7 race and resign his seat. Of course Garrity could resign (he has not done so), but like Szabo he cannot get off the ballot unless he dies, leaves the ward, or becomes very ill.
It's a very simply law, Mr. Speaker; it's a very simple law, Mr. Smith!
Garrity is facing two other Democratic candidates for three seats in Ward 7, former state Rep Carol Williams and Clecio Terrio who shares the same address as the incumbent Republican Rep (talk about diversity within a family). My guess is that Garrity and Williams win both the primary and the general election. In other words, Garrity may well do what O'Brien may well not do, retain his seat. Oh if only Mister Speaker had a bar room brawl (or two as in the case of Garrity) on his resume!
O'Brien is in a three-way race for two seats in the House district which includes Mt. Vernon and New Boston. One of the three candidates is O'Brien's former friend and chief of Staff Bob Meade; the other is a New Boston Selectman whom O'Brien has endorsed. Go figure. Wouldn't it be something if O'Brien loses to primary to Meade and the other candidate he's endorsed?
Ah, we certainly don't deserve that much schadenfreude!
Smith will most likely lose the Republican gubernatorial primary to Ovide LaMontagne who has apparently remained mum over the Szabo comment which may well be just as bad as the Akin comments in Missouri...at least Akin didn't threaten to kill anyone!
Is there something in the water regarding Republicans and abortion these days; or is it some strange Vulcan mind meld which Wasserman whatshername and Raybo have been able to master, thus implanting destructive thoughts in the minds of GOP wannabes?