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Sununu Not Sold on Wendy Long Senate Bid: ‘Sounds Like a Carpetbagger’

If Wendy Long decides to jump into the already crowded GOP primary race for the U.S. Senate, she’ll do so with two landslide losses in previous Senate races on her record, allegations she attended the January 6 Capitol Hill riot, and her embrace of debunked claims Donald Trump actually won the 2020 election.

And she is not likely to have Gov. Chris Sununu’s support, either.

Long has been floated as a possible candidate by Corey Lewendowski, an advisor to former President Trump. According to Lewandowski, Trump is not thrilled with the current field and Long could theoretically snag his endorsement if she enters the fray.

Last week, Jack Heath asked Lewandowski about reports he was promoting Long’s candidacy. The consultant declined to answer directly, but he did call her “exceptionally intelligent.” And, he noted, “New Hampshire has a history of sending women to Washington, D.C. There’s an argument to be made that a strong female candidate may have a better chance of defeating Maggie Hassan than any of the candidates in the field.”

On Friday, Heath asked Sununu about Long’s potential candidacy and Lewandowski’s possible connection. The governor didn’t sound impressed.

“I don’t know who that person is,” Sununu said. “I don’t know this Wendy Long. She doesn’t live here. That sounds like a carpetbagger from New York.”

Later in the show, Long called into Heath’s program, clearly reacting to Sununu’s comments and ready to respond.

“He doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” Long said. “I do live in Keene and he doesn’t know my history. His father does. Gov. Sununu senior was a great help to us when some of us had some problems at Dartmouth College. Anyway, I look forward to getting to know the governor.”

Long told Heath she is seriously considering a run, but she has not made up her mind. If she does, she would be the sixth candidate, joining state Sen. President Chuck Morse, R-Salem; Kevin Smith, former Londonderry town manager; crypto-businessman Bruce Fenton; retired Brig. Gen. Don Bolduc; and Lincoln entrepreneur Vikram Mansharamani.

Long grew up in Keene and attended Dartmouth College before embarking on a legal career. She earned her J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law and also attended Harvard Law School. She served as a law clerk at U.S. Supreme Court for Justice Clarence Thomas.

Long said her first job in politics was as press secretary for New Hampshire’s Republican Sen. Gordon Humphrey. She got that job after being recommended by Jeffrey Hart, her English professor at Dartmouth.

Long’s time at Dartmouth has followed her career for good or ill, starting with her work at “Dartmouth Review,” the Ivy League college’s conservative newspaper co-founded by Hart. In 1990, Long, then known by her maiden name Wendy Stone, and fellow student and “Dartmouth Review” trustee Dinesh D’Souza, were forced to call a press conferee to apologize for publishing a quote from Adolf Hitler on the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur.

The Dartmouth Review printed the following line from Hitler’s book “Mein Kampf” as part of the paper’s statement of principles: “Therefore, I believe today that I am acting in the sense of the Almighty Creator: By warding off the Jews, I am fighting for the Lord’s work.”

The pair blamed an unnamed staffer for putting in the quote without their knowledge, and they suggested it was an act of sabotage against the conservative publication, according to an Associated Press report. 

D’Souza, a controversial figure even in the conservative community,  made headlines in 2014 when he pleaded guilty to a felony count of making an illegal campaign contribution to Long. According to court records, he arranged for $20,000 in illegal donations for Long’s 2012 campaign against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) At the time, Long said she did not know about those illegal donations. She garnered just 26 percent of the vote.

Long again ran for Senate in 2016, that time against Democratic Senate leader Schumer. She lost with 27 percent.

During that campaign, she met with the leader of the Oath Keepers, Stewart Rhodes. Rhodes is currently charged with sedition for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

“Thank you Stewart (Rhodes) for founding this whole organization,” Long said in a speech to the Oath Keepers. “I am running against one of the greatest enemies of the Constitution, Chuck Schumer, in the United States Senate. He’s an enemy not only of the Second Amendment which you know of course everyone knows he’s the face of the anti-Second Amendment movement, which by the way is in great peril.”

The Anti-Defamation League describes Oath keepers as “right-wing anti-government extremists who are part of the militia movement.”

Long’s own words about Jan. 6 seem to place her at the Capitol that day. In a group chat among former Justice Thomas clerks leaked to The Washington Post, Long wrote:

“Many of my friends and I had been praying our knees off that January 6 would see light and truth being shed on what we believe in our hearts was likely a stolen election… Many of us marched peacefully and yes, many also prayed and shared another important message, ‘Jesus saves.’”

Long moved back to Keene earlier this year, and Lewandowski notes many of the Granite State’s most successful politicians were not born here. And she has a reputation as an outspoken conservative activist who has helped engage grassroots Republicans.

She helped found the Judicial Confirmation Network — now the Judicial Crisis Network — which supports the nomination of conservative Supreme Court justices like Samuel Alito and opposes liberal nominees like Sonia Sotomayor.

If Long can win the nomination, she could have a shot against Hassan, whose polls have been underwhelming at best and whose sudden swing to the right on immigration and oil production has angered the progressive base. In the latest UNH poll, Hassan was tied with or losing to the relatively unknown candidates in the GOP primary.

“She’s done,” Sununu told Heath. “People see the writing on the wall, the Democratic Party sees the writing on the wall. Republicans, independents, and even some Democrats are frustrated and they are going to vote her right out in November, regardless of who comes out of that primary.”

Keene’s Jan. 6 Congressional Candidate Going to Jail

The Keene man arrested after he took selfies inside the U.S. Capitol Building during the January 6 riots is headed to jail, in part because his current run for Congress shows a lack of remorse, according to prosecutors.

Jason Riddle, 34, pleaded guilty last year to one count of theft of government property, and one count of illegal parading in a government building. The charges stem from his actions during the riot on Capitol Hill following a Trump rally.

Riddle is currently seeking the GOP nomination in the 2nd Congressional District.

His defense attorney wanted Riddle to be sentenced to 30 months of probation rather than prison time. Prosecutors told United States District Court Judge Dabney Fredrich the outspoken Riddle deserves jail time as he appears to be attempting to use the notoriety he gained from his illegal actions to further his political career.

Attorney George Eliopolous wrote in the government’s sentencing memo that Riddle has displayed a total lack of remorse.

“He has given two news interviews, one was months after his arrest in this case, in which he specifically stated that he did not regret his involvement in the January 6 riot and that he expected to benefit from it and the resulting criminal case when he runs for public office,” Eliopolous wrote.

During one of those television interviews, Riddle said he was happy to get the attention that the criminal case brought. 

“In the long run, if you’re running for office, any attention is good attention,” he told an NBC interviewer.

In the same interview, Riddle appeared unaware that Rep. Annie Kuster is a member of Congress. He indicated he thought she was a state representative who worked at the State House in Concord. 

Riddle has run unsuccessfully for office in Cheshire County since moving to New Hampshire with his husband. He was separated from the United States Navy in 2011 due to alcohol abuse, according to court documents.

Eliopolous also argued that Riddle deserves jail time for destroying evidence after learning FBI agents had begun an investigation. He allegedly deleted photos and videos from his phone — some of the same photos and videos he had already shared with the media. 

Riddle supplied reporters with video and photos he took inside the building, including numerous images of himself. Many of the photos of Riddle are included in FBI Special Agent Kevin Helson’s affidavit.

Helson writes that FBI agents interviewed Riddle in Keene on Jan. 22 when executing a search warrant to obtain digital photos and video. During that interview, Riddle admitted to going in as part of a “break in” led by a “big dude.”

“Riddle also admitted that he stole a small Fox News football from the same office, but tossed it aside as he exited the Capitol building,” Helson wrote.

Riddle told the agents that before they arrived he had tried to delete photos from his phone. 

“Riddle also admitted that at some point after the Capitol incident, he had deleted some messages, photos, and videos of his D.C. trip from his phone, during what he termed a ‘delete frenzy,’” Helson wrote.

Fredrich sided with prosecutors and sentenced Riddle to 90 days in jail, three years of supervised probation, and more than $750 in fines and restitution. Staying true to form, Riddle made light of the sentence soon after it was handed down on Monday.

“3 months in jail for 14 minutes of the most beautiful patriotic event in history. Works for me,” Riddle posted on Facebook.

Riddle is being allowed to surrender to authorities at a later date to begin serving his sentence.

Riddle took a photo of himself drinking from a bottle of wine he stole inside the building, a photo that he shared with multiple media outlets. He also stole a copy of the Senate Procedure manual and sold the book on eBay, according to court documents.

Amherst Man Who Threatened Violence Against Congress Puts Blame on Trump

Booze and heavy doses of right-wing misinformation pushed Navy veteran Ryder Winegar to call members of Congress last year, threatening to rape and murder them if they did not support President Donald Trump.

He’s now going to prison.

Winegar’s attorney, Charles Keefe, told the court this week his client regrets his actions and now rejects the ideology that led him to prison.

“After months of becoming caught up in ultra-conservative news-outlet information, and allowing himself to be indoctrinated with a dogma spewed by the former president and his followers, Ryder’s depression and anxiety found an outlet,” Keefe wrote. “Fueled by his intoxication, Ryder proceeded to leave a series of disgusting, racist, and threatening voicemails for six members of Congress regarding the results of the 2020 presidential election.”

Keefe asked the court to give the 35-year-old a sentence of time served. He’s been jailed since his arrest last year. John Farley, the acting United States Attorney for New Hampshire, wanted the 33-months in prison Winegar got, saying his threats were part of former President Donald Trump’s overall movement to upend the 2020 election.

“Add it all up, this is serious conduct that was intended to disrupt the functioning of government at the highest levels and warrants the imposition of a sentence that reflects the gravity of the offenses,” Farley wrote.

On the night of Dec. 15, Winegar downed a six-pack of beer, two bottles of sake, and a few tumblers of tequila before he called six members of Congress and threatened to kill them if they did not support Trump’s efforts to stay in office after his loss to President Joe Biden. 

The members of Congress are not identified in the court records. Winegar made calls to offices in D.C. after midnight, and left voicemail messages for the Congress members. He also left his name and phone number on many of the messages.

One of the messages Winegar, edited to remove extreme profanities, is a typical example:

“Here’s the advice, Donald Trump is your president. If you don’t get behind him, we’re going to hang you until you die … You can come, you can keep being a shill for the Chinese communist party. And you know, like the, uh, the Jewish banking cartel, or you can stand up and do the right thing and back America’s president Donald Trump. Support freedom.”

Days before he called and left the threats, Winegar also emailed threats to a New Hampshire state representative, according to court records.

When Capitol police investigators went to Winegar’s home in Amherst to talk about the phone calls, Winegar reportedly told them to get off his property. The next day his wife drove him to Boston’s Logan Airport where he boarded a flight to Brazil, according to court records. He stayed out of the country until he was convinced to come home, at which point he was arrested at the airport.

Investigators searched his home and found an AR-15 rifle loaded with light armor-piercing ammunition, a loaded shotgun, a loaded 9mm pistol, an unloaded rifle with a scope, several hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and a body armor vest, with clips and Level IV body armor plates.

Winegar pleaded guilty to all charges in August. Keefe wrote that Winegar’s 10 months in jail is the longest stretch of time he’s been sober since he was 12. Alcohol and marijuana use played a key role in his crimes, as does childhood trauma, Keefe wrote.

“As well, his actions derived from an alcohol-fueled form of political hysteria that he now renounces. It is very likely that Ryder’s actions in this case, and the mindset that allowed him to commit these offenses, is connected to the instability and unusual influences of his childhood,” Keefe wrote.

Winegar grew up in the Church of Scientology, which was founded by pulp writer L. Ron Hubbard. It teaches belief in alien lifeforms that inhabit the human body and are the cause of all emotional problems, as well as belief in past lives, and a sci-fi infused history of the earth. Scientology also prohibits followers from seeking mental health treatments.

“The Church of Scientology has been described by government inquiries, international parliamentary bodies, scholars, law lords, and numerous superior court judgements as both a dangerous cult and a manipulative profit-making business,” Keefe wrote.

 Winegar found structure in the Navy, and excelled at learning languages, according to Keefe. He was honorably discharged but had trouble adapting back to civilian life. He stopped taking medications like Zoloft, and started heavy use of alcohol and marijuana leading up to the 2020 presidential election, according to Keefe. As part of the sentence, Winegar will pay a $15,000 fine.

“Today’s sentencing sends a clear message that threats of violence have no place in our political discourse,” Farley said in a statement. “While all citizens are free to express their political opinions, it is unlawful to threaten to commit acts of violence against members of Congress or members of the state legislature.  This defendant’s graphic threats were a troubling attempt to intimidate lawmakers and a direct assault on the functioning of our constitutional system.  This sentence should send a message to the community that those who threaten to commit acts of violence against duly-elected legislators will be held accountable for their unlawful conduct.”