New Hampshire cities had municipal elections last week. After the Great Bearcat Media Event in Concord, a number of Free Staters decided to run for the City Council. Given that the Bearcat was a done deal, running on the anti-Bearcat platform wasn’t the best strategy. Most revealed a woeful ignorance of what the job entailed. They all lost.
City and town elections should be nonpartisan – they should be about electing the best person for the job. The key word there is “should.” We all know that partisan politics and ideology sometimes creep in. Former state Republican Party Chairperson, Fergus Cullen, ran for the Dover City Council. Despite billing himself as a humble small businessman (he failed to disclose that he’s the executive director of a far right think tank in Connecticut) he lost. Badly. Cullen has written about the dangers inherent in what the NH Republican Party has become, and now he’s experienced what he predicted.
In addition to the municipal elections, Nashua had a special election in Ward 8 for a state representative. It was an ugly business. Republican Peter Silva (former House Majority leader) had some unattractive things to say about his opposing candidate, Latha Mangipudi. Speaking to the Nashua City Republican Committee, Silva remarked that upon coming out of the polls on primary day, “I thought I was in New Delhi,” referring to the large turnout of Indian American voters. He told his fellow Republicans “they’d be coming out of the woodwork” to vote for Mangipudi. That effort to rebrand the GOP to be friendlier to women and minorities sure is coming along nicely. Silva refused to apologize, whined about political correctness, and generally dug himself a deeper hole every time he opened his mouth. He lost.
That wasn’t the end of the ugliness in Ward 8. Inside the polling place, Karen Thoman, Secretary of the City Republican Committee was videotaping voters. Apparently she had permission from the City Clerk, who ran it by unnamed “state officials.” (One hopes that this is being investigated.) As one would expect, there was some backlash from angry voters. At least one called her a Nazi. She piously defended herself by stating that she didn’t videotape children. She has standards! That this videotaping took place ONLY in Ward 8 underscores the sheer nastiness of this special election. The day will come when Republicans want minority votes. (HINT: this isn’t the way to get them.) This kind of conduct only serves to continue the erosion of confidence in our electoral system.
Alcoa stock prices have been on the rise this week, thanks to former state GOP Chairman Jack Kimball. Kimball sent out an email to 50 of his pals warning them that the UN was invading NH. Apparently his daughter saw a convoy of about 50 trucks on the highway. From the email: “It consisted of a wide range of military vehicles, many of them white and nondescript and unmarked." He said they later saw another group of around 10 to 12 18-wheelers, also nondescript and driven by military personnel,” Kimball told the Portsmouth Patch, “We’re on the watch for stuff like this.” The fact that white UN trucks have UN painted on them in big black letters was lost on Mr. Kimball. Turns out, those frightening white trucks belonged to medics from NH, Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island National Guard units, who had been in Maine conducting training exercises. Ooops. Jack had to send out a retraction to his followers.
Kimball also told Patch, "We're all concerned about what's going on with Obama. We've all been talking about what's happening. We've got Chinese troops arriving in Hawaii... and Kansas. There’s a lot of things going on that are very suspicious. There are a lot of people that are very vigilant.
“We” appears to be Kimball’s fellow members of the shiny haberdashery club. Some cursory research reveals that the Chinese troops in Hawaii are there taking part in disaster relief exercises. They’re simulating post-earthquake relief operations. This sort of exchange is an annual exercise that is part of a security cooperation agreement established in 1998. I can find no reputable sources confirming the invasion of Kansas by Chinese troops. Perhaps they’re sneaking in, undercover, in UN trucks.
In other news, NH has lot a couple of the good guys to cancer in the last 2 weeks. Marty Capodice died at home in Concord. Marty was a retired research analyst with the NH Employment Security Economic and Labor Market Information Bureau. He was also a long time house manager at the Capital Center for the Arts. Marty was married to Arnie Arnesen, who can be heard discussing national politics and events on radio in at least 4 states. Marty was a truly happy man – he loved his family, his friends, and his community. He could convince even the most Eeyore amongst us (me) that they could do anything, give them a bear hug, and send them on their way, feeling as if maybe Marty was right. A big loss.
District 1 Executive Councilor Ray Burton died this week. Ray served the North Country in that capacity for 35 years. Since the council districts are based on population, Ray’s district covered 2/3 of the state. It’s a stupidly huge district, but Ray managed to be everywhere at once, handing out combs and remembering the names and faces of everyone he ever met. Ray was a staunch advocate for the oft-forgotten northern part of our state. He was a Republican, but not an ideologue, and he always returned my phone calls. It has also been mildly amusing to watch all of the people who were howling for his resignation 8 years ago offering up accolades now that he’s gone. As a tribute to Ray, I hope we can all agree that no one else can do what he did. District One should be divided into at least 2 parts. Ray had decades to figure it out, something the next person will not. Creating 2 manageable districts would keep the Council at an odd number (no tie votes), and ensure quality representation for the biggest part of the state.