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Libertarian Charged With Assaulting Bolduc Now Banned From St A’s

Joa Orga, aka Joe Hart, the Libertarian activist accused of assaulting GOP Senate candidate Don Bolduc Wednesday night, is banned from St. Anselm College property and facing charges of criminal trespass and disorderly conduct. 

“He hit me,” Bolduc is seen saying in a video that captured the brief interaction with Orga.

The incident took place as Bolduc was greeting supporters ahead of his debate with Democratic incumbent Sen. Maggie Hassan. At least one fellow Libertarian says Orga never touched Bolduc.

Goffstown police stated Thursday that Orga, 37, had been told to leave the property by college staff before Bolduc arrived at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics for the debate. Witnesses told NH Journal Orga was seen shouting obscenities and making bizarre statements before Bolduc got there.

Libertarian activist Ian Freeman released videos late Wednesday disputing the narrative that Orga assaulted Bolduc, as Bolduc and at least one other witness claim.

“The guy came at Gen. Bolduc in a threatening way, and he chest bumped or pushed Gen. Bolduc,” said Chris Ager, chairman of the Hillsborough County GOP Committee.

The videos showed Orga, holding what appeared to be a cell phone on a selfie stick, moving quickly toward Bolduc. In a quick sequence of events, Orga made some type of movement before Hillsborough County GOP Chair Chris Ager and another man moved to get Orga away from Bolduc. Police, already circling the area, quickly descended on the group and separated everyone. Bolduc was seen pointing at Orga and saying he was hit.

Bolduc later told a staffer the blow “glanced off” him. He also mentioned it during the debate, in response to a question about political violence and the recent attack on the husband of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

“I am really sorry for what happened to the Speaker’s husband,” Bolduc said. “Nobody should have that happen to them anywhere in America. But it’s a sign of the times. It’s a sign of political problems. Republicans and Democrats fuel issues with people that get them to the point where they are just so upset at an individual that they strike out at them. That’s what happened to me outside, just before I came in here.”

Freeman says Bolduc is lying about the incident, and that Orga never assaulted him. The videos do not show Orga throwing a punch.

“The campaign and Bolduc himself are lying. Joa never threw a punch nor did he even try to touch Bolduc. He did approach him and yell at him about being a warmonger, that’s it,” Freeman said.

Freeman is no stranger to law enforcement. He is currently heading to trial on dozens of federal charges accusing him of money laundering and wire fraud. Freeman was, on paper, kicked out of the Free State Project in 2014 after he repeatedly advocated for lowering the age of consent laws. Despite that public disavowal, Freeman is a frequent presence at Free State Project functions. He was an invited speaker at this year’s Free State Project annual PorcFest.

Orga, a self-described police auditor, has a history of negative interactions with law enforcement. In 2019 he was arrested inside the Worcester, Mass. police station for allegedly being disruptive while filming police. That same year he allegedly cyber-stalked the wife of a Rhode Island police officer after the officer stopped him for a traffic violation.

Orga is free on personal recognizance bail and will be arraigned on Dec. 1 at the Goffstown District Court. The incident remains under investigation and Goffstown police ask anyone with additional information to contact Detective Sergeant Kevin Laroche at (603) 497-4858.

Libertarian Activist Assaults Bolduc Outside NHIOP

A New Hampshire Libertarian Party activist reportedly assaulted GOP Senate candidate Don Bolduc Wednesday night outside the New Hampshire Institute of Politics moments before his debate with Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan.

“The guy came at Gen. Bolduc in a threatening way, and he chest bumped or pushed Gen. Bolduc,” said Chris Ager, chairman of the Hillsborough County GOP Committee.

Ager was in the crowd Wednesday night with Republican and Democratic activists cheering their candidates in the parking lot at the NHIOP at Saint Anselm College. Bolduc arrived and was working the crowd when he was suddenly assaulted.

In a video, Bolduc was seen interacting with his supporters, laughing and cheering when he got to an area where Libertarian protestors had gathered. A man was seen approaching Bolduc, standing close to the candidate and making some kind of motion.

“It happened pretty quickly, he was approaching him in a threatening way, and it appeared he did push into Gen. Bolduc,” Ager said. “I believed it was a threat to the General because of his erratic behavior before that.”

Ager said the man was shouting obscenities before Bolduc arrived and acting in a threatening and unsettling manner.

“He was saying irrational things before the encounter and using a lot of foul language,” Ager said. “He earlier had to be separated from another gentleman when he got into a confrontation.”

Ager is seen in the video rushing out of the crowd and pushing into the man. They were quickly separated by police. Bolduc did not appear hurt during the encounter. He resumed leading cheers with the crowd after the incident.

Ager said the man continued to be loud and confrontational with police after he was separated from Bolduc. He was later taken into custody, according to sources at the scene. The man could be seen in the video handcuffed and being led away by police.

Sources tell NH Journal the suspect is Libertarian activist Joseph Hart/AKA Joa Orga. Orga has a reported history of confrontations with police that include allegations of stalking behavior.

Goffstown police were unable to comment on the incident Wednesday night. Neil Levesque, the NHIOP executive director, did not respond to a request for comment.

Griffin Mackey was in the crowd supporting Bolduc. He told NHJournal the assailant was “relentlessly heckling Bolduc supporters across the street from him. Throughout the night, I saw him become angrier and angrier.

“Don was greeting his supporters and firing up the crowd when I saw this man start running aggressively towards him from across the street.

“We were relieved when we saw Don approaching us after we witnessed the police arresting his attacker,” Mackey added. “It was ironic to see a self-proclaimed pacifist attacking a veteran.”

Bolduc later told a staffer the blow “glanced off” him. He also mentioned it during the debate, in response to a question about political violence and the recent attack on the husband of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

“I am really sorry for what happened to the Speaker’s husband,” Bolduc said. “Nobody should have that happen to them anywhere in America. But it’s a sign of the times. It’s a sign of political problems. Republicans and Democrats fuel issues with people that get them to the point where they are just so upset at an individual that they strike out at them. That’s what happened to me outside, just before I came in here.”

Ager said the incident is out of the ordinary for political crowds he has been in, and that it was a case of an individual acting irresponsibly.

“This is very unusual. Between the Republicans and Democrats, we understand, we have different opinions, but we can be civil,” Ager said.

ANALYSIS: Hassan’s Ham-Fisted Handling of Fair Tax Feeds Doubts About Campaign

When Sen. Maggie Hassan attacked Gen. Don Bolduc for supporting the “FAIR Tax” during the NHPR U.S. Senate debate, nobody else in the room appeared to know what she was talking about — including Bolduc.

Days later, it was still not clear if Bolduc had ever embraced the obscure plan to eliminate the IRS, or is even familiar with its details. What is clear is that Team Hassan has worked hard to make it an issue in the waning days of the campaign — a fact that raises questions about the Democrats’ strategy.

Before last week, virtually nobody following the Hassan v. Bolduc campaign had heard the phrase “FAIR Tax.” When Hassan repeatedly declared, seemingly at random, that Bolduc backs a 23 percent national sales tax, he said he did not know what she was talking about. She pointed to his answer to a question on a Facebook Live event hosted by WMUR’s Adam Sexton a few days earlier.

The FAIR Tax slogan is “Abolish the IRS!” It would entirely replace all income and payroll taxes with a national consumption (or sales) tax. The premise is that wealthy taxpayers wouldn’t be able to use loopholes to evade paying their fair share and it would catch the revenue lost to the under-the-table economy.

Good idea? Bad? Whatever it is, it is not a topic that has been debated or discussed by either candidate — until Hassan brought it up during the debate.

No reference appears anywhere on the Bolduc campaign website. There was not a single media report of Bolduc ever talking about it at any of the more than 60 town halls he has held. A Google search for any previous mentions of “Don Bolduc” and “Fair Tax” came up empty.

So, where did it come from?

During the WMUR/Facebook Live event, Sexton read a question from an “Ann Heffernon.”

“Can you please ask Don Bolduc to speak more about his FAIR Tax plan?” Heffernon wrote.

In his answer, Bolduc did not endorse, or even mention, the FAIR Tax proposal or a sales tax of any kind. Instead, he said, “I want a fair tax so that everybody pays their fair share based on the income they make.”

Obviously referencing a tax “based off income” doesn’t sound like the FAIR Tax, and it is not part of his campaign. So, why was a viewer asking about “his Fair Tax plan?”

Perhaps because Ann Heffernon is a long-time leader in the Cheshire County Democratic Party. In fact, she was named the county’s Democrat of the Year in 2017.

NHDP Chair Ray Buckley and “Democrat of the Year” Ann Heffernon.

According to the Keene Sentinel, “She’s been active for decades and has served as [county Democratic Party] chair, vice chair, secretary, and treasurer of the organization. She’s coordinated events (including a women’s rally at Keene State College last fall), canvassed, conducted trainings, ran offices, gave rides, made food — anything that needs to be done.”

It is not difficult to deduce how this extremely specific question on an obscure topic made its way to Facebook.

Campaigns planting questions is nothing new. It’s standard operating politics for everything from talk radio interviews to town halls to make sure your candidates’ fans are the ones asking the questions. But planting a Facebook Live question to set up a radio debate attack on an issue literally nobody in New Hampshire is talking about?

Why?

To many longtime political pros, it was just another sign the Hassan campaign is still struggling. Running against an underfunded, inexperienced candidate who gives them a gaffe-a-day to work with, Hassan’s polls continue to fall. She took a double-digit lead and $50 million and turned it into a neck-and-neck race.

“Don Bolduc can’t win this race, but Maggie Hassan can lose it,” veteran GOP operative Karl Rove told The Wall Street Journal on Monday.

The Hassan campaign denies it invented this controversy, and it uses a 20-second clip of Bolduc at an October 14 Salem town hall in which he said, “We need either a fair tax or a flat tax,” and complains about the complexity of the tax code. Hardly a pillar of his campaign.

So once again — why? The tax issue is hardly a winner for Hassan.

In 2017, she voted to kill the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) which gave the average household earning between $50,000 – $75,000 a 19.4 percent tax cut, according to Americans for Tax Reform.  These Granite State households saw their average federal income tax liability drop from $6,030.80 in 2017 to $5,050.35 in 2019. Hassan voted against it.

The TCJA also increased the Child Tax Credit nationwide by $573.4 billion over a decade. She voted against that, too.

The New Hampshire GOP calls the Hassan campaign’s FAIR tax stunt both desperate and dirty.

“This is what desperation looks like,” said state party executive director Elliot Gault. “Gen. Bolduc is winning, all our candidates are rising in the polls, and we’re in the final days. Democrats have to turn to dirty tricks because they can’t beat our candidates on the issues.”

“Dirty trick” may be a bit over the top. But with Democrats bouncing from attack to attack — their new ad targets Bolduc’s comments on a “microchip” conspiracy theory — and Hassan’s lead fading in poll after poll, “desperate” sounds right on target.

 

Experts Raise Concerns of Heating Oil Rationing in New England Amid Supply Shortage

In the worst-case scenario, some Granite Staters could run out of heating oil or electricity this winter as the nation grapples with the current energy crisis, experts warn.

ISO New England, the region’s power grid operator, warned last week the tight supply of natural gas could result in rolling blackouts this winter if the weather turns unusually cold.

“The most challenging aspect of this winter is what’s happening around the world and the extreme volatility in the markets,” said Vamsi Chadalavada, chief operating officer for ISO New England. “If you are in the commercial sector, at what point do you buy fuel?”

Then came a Bloomberg report that New England heating oil suppliers are already seeing supply rationing before the winter heating season starts as supply runs short free to high wholesale prices.

“The facts are this, supplies of heating oil are historically low,” said Michael Ferrante with the Massachusetts Energy Marketers Association.

New England heating oil suppliers are trying to hedge their bets, Ferrante explained. The wholesale market is anticipating higher prices through the next few months at least with prices possibly dropping in early spring. The suppliers are responding by not buying extra oil at the current high prices.

“They’re buying ‘just in time’ inventory, just enough to meet the needs right now,” Ferrante said. But what happens if there is a surge in demand during another blast of brutal arctic cold like in 2018

“During the two weeks of Arctic cold, New England generators burned through about 2 million barrels of oil,” noted ISO New England CEO Gordon van Welie in an after-action report. “That’s about 84 million gallons, more than twice as much as all the oil used by New England power plants during the entire year of 2016.”

If there is a surge in demand, larger oil distributors would have more access to the limited supply. But what about small heating oil suppliers around New Hampshire, the one-truck operators? Ferrante conceded they might get left out in the cold.

“The smaller companies might have a more difficult time finding supply,” Ferrante said.

The current average cost of heating oil in New Hampshire is more than $5.60 per gallon. That is expected to climb higher as the weather turns colder in the coming months. With smaller suppliers frozen out of the market, Granite Staters will have a tougher time keeping their homes warm.

Spikes in the cost of natural gas, which provides the fuel for much of New England’s electric grid, have already resulted in the doubling of electricity rates for New Hampshire ratepayers. Those same ratepayers face the prospect of shelling out double for electricity and not being able to buy oil for their furnaces.

Karoline Leavitt, the GOP congressional candidate running neck and neck with incumbent Democrat Rep. Chris Pappas, blames President Joe Biden’s administration for sky-high energy costs.

“As if the $600 being stolen from families every month because of inflation wasn’t bad enough, we are all living a nightmare as we watch our energy bills soar as the weather gets colder,” Leavitt said. “We were informed that this would happen months ago. And rather than develop a solution to solve this crisis, Chris Pappas continued to vote with Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden 100 percent of the time, exacerbating this problem to its breaking point. With families being forced to decide between heating and eating, we cannot afford another term of Chris Pappas’ partisan leadership that leaves Granite Staters hanging out to dry.”

GOP U.S. Senate candidate Don Bolduc sees a lack of leadership.

“Less than two years into the Biden presidency, we’re having discussions about rationing here in the United States of America. New Hampshire is facing a major energy crisis all due to Sen. Maggie Hassan and President Biden’s failed leadership. Not only are Granite Staters having to choose between heating and eating, but they also now must worry about energy shortages that could leave them out in the cold with no way to heat their homes. Sen. Hassan has failed New Hampshire,” said campaign spokeswoman Kate Constantini.

Both Hassan and Pappas had been pushing Biden to release more oil from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Though Biden announced last week he was putting more of the nation’s stockpile on the market, it is unlikely to be enough to counter the high energy prices caused by Russia’s war on Ukraine and the decision by Saudi Arabia to pump less oil to raise prices.

“It’s a short-term Band-Aid, and it doesn’t solve the long-term problem,” said Phil Flynn, an energy market analyst with the PRICE Futures Group.

Ferrante said there is no relief coming in the short term, as the war in Ukraine continues driving the energy market in Europe and beyond.

“There are no guarantees it will get better. It’s a global economy,” Ferrante said. “Prices of crude oil are affected by what’s happening around the world.”

In Manchester and Nashua, Fentanyl Death Toll Keeps Rising

Nashua and Manchester continue chasing a grim record as opioid-related overdose deaths continue to rise in the two cities. 

According to data released Thursday by ambulance company American Medical Response, there were 77 suspected opioid overdoses in Nashua and Manchester during September 2022 bringing the combined total for this year to 701.

And they warn there is no end in sight.

“Preliminary data show Nashua has experienced 33 suspected opioid-related deaths through September. That is 3 more deaths than during all of 2021,” said Chris Stawasz, Northeast Regional Director of Government Affairs for AMR. “Nashua remains on pace to have the highest number of suspected deaths from opioids in one year since the opioid epidemic began in 2015. Manchester is also still on pace to have the highest number of suspected opioid-related deaths in a one-year period since 2017.”

This year’s number of opioid-related overdose deaths is already close to last year’s totals. Manchester had more than 500 suspected overdoses in 2021, 30 percent more than the previous year, and Nashua had 250 suspected overdoses in 2021, which was 29 percent more than in 2020.

Stawasz said opioids like Fentanyl are not the only thing first responders are worried about. The growing prevalence of methamphetamines on New Hampshire streets is concerning, he said.

“Methamphetamine, which is not currently tracked and is not included in this report, continues to be seen mixed with opioids. Meth is a particularly dangerous drug for both users and first responders as it can cause extreme excited delirium and alarmingly unpredictable behavior in users,” Stawasz said.

Meth use has been linked to violent incidents in recent years, with several fatal police shootings involving people who were heavy meth users coming into conflict with police.

Both methamphetamine and fentanyl are coming over the Mexican border and making their way into New Hampshire, according to law enforcement. Mexican drug cartels are getting the necessary chemicals to make the deadly drugs from Chinese triads. The partnership extends to billions of dollars being laundered by the triads for the cartels, with the knowledge of China’s government.

The drugs continue to stream over the border, which has seen record numbers of people illegally crossing. The Border Patrol reports it apprehended 2 million people this year, the largest number of illegal crossings in history. That blows past last year’s figure of 1.7 million people coming over the border illegally, which was a record number at the time.

Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan received testimony on the need to secure the border from national law enforcement officials during a hearing earlier this year. Jon DeLena, Deputy Special Agent in Charge of the New England Field Division for the DEA, testified regarding the danger posed by the cartels.

“The model of the drug cartels right now is simple. Relentless expansion and addiction. They simply don’t care if Americans die. They only want to reach more Americans in unprecedented ways. This is a moment in time, our moment where we have to do everything we can to reverse this deadly trend,” DeLena said.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article has been updated to more accurately reflect the testimony offered by Mr. DeLena.

Blackout: NH Dems Get Failing Grade on Energy Report Card

Granite Staters are paying more at the pump, paying double the price for electricity, and are now getting slammed with heating oil costs heading into winter.

And according to the American Energy Alliance (AEA), the state’s top Democrats have done nothing to help. 

New Hampshire’s federal delegation, Democratic Reps. Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas, and Sens. Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen, all scored a “zero” on the 2o21-2022 AEA report card on energy policy.

“All the proof of their rejection of affordable energy policies will show up in the energy bills for people in New Hampshire this winter,” said AEA President Thomas Pyle. “New Hampshire is not California and yet the entire delegation votes for California-style energy policies.”

The energy debate isn’t an abstract one in New England, where ISO New England Inc., has warned that an extremely cold winter could potentially result in rolling blackouts due to lack of supply.

“If we get a sustained cold period in New England this winter, we’ll be in a very similar position as California was this summer,” said Nathan Hanson with LS Power Development, which operates two gas-fired power plants in the region.

The AEA looks at what lawmakers have done to “promote affordable, abundant, and reliable energy,” as well as the steps they have taken to “expand economic opportunity and prosperity, particularly for working families and those on fixed incomes.”

In her debate with Republican Don Bolduc on Tuesday, Hassan was asked for her solution to rising energy costs. She touted her support for green energy spending, government subsidies to help consumers pay the higher prices, and her call for President Joe Biden to release more oil from U.S. reserves. She did not mention increased domestic energy production, and she repeated a debunked claim that “Big Oil” was manipulating energy prices.

Democrats have been scrambling ahead of the midterms to do something about the high prices. This week, Biden announced he was releasing 15 million gallons of oil from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve in a last-ditch ploy to tamp down prices before people vote. His use of the SPR is being applauded by Hassan and Pappas as they fight for their political lives in tight races.

Hassan signed on to a letter asking Biden to do more, like release oil from the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve.

“With lower inventories of crude oil, propane, and natural gas and the continued global disruption caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine contributing to a sharp rise in residential energy costs, we urge the administration to closely monitor the energy needs of the Northeast and release stock from the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve,” Hassan’s letter states.

But as The Wall Street Journal reports, the problem isn’t Russia’s drop in exports — just 560,000 barrels a day out of a global supply of 101 million — but “a lack of investment, especially in the U.S., which had been the world’s swing producer.”

“Now the swing producers are Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. OPEC countries and their allies, which account for 45 percent of global oil production, accounted for 85 percent of new supply in September,” WSJ reports. That new production cannot come from the U.S., in part because Biden has slashed the number of new oil and gas leases by 97 percent.

Pappas is pushing for more funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program to help people through the winter. But, like Hassan, he has a record of opposing expanded oil and gas production.

Don Bolduc, Hassan’s GOP challenger, said Democrats are hurting the country with short-sighted energy policies that ultimately drive up the cost without addressing the need for energy independence.

“Now, facing the brutal consequences and with a midterm election looming, their only solution is releasing more of our emergency supply of oil, leaving us vulnerable to future supply shocks and whims from evil despots (in Venezuela.) It never had to be this way: America has the resources to power our country right here at home,” Bolduc said. “For those facing tough choices between heating and eating, you’ve got Joe Biden and Maggie Hassan to blame.”

Craig Stevens, spokesman for the GAIN Coalition, blamed Biden.

“With each passing week, it grows more evident that President Biden has no real strategy for lowering energy prices. From Day One, the president has put American energy producers and pipeline operators in his crosshairs,” Stevens said. “Now, with gas prices up 59 percent since his inauguration and electricity prices set to double this winter, every American is dealing with the consequences of his unprecedented hostility to the energy sector.”

Report: Chinese Government Exploiting Southern Border to Feed Fentanyl Epidemic

An explosive report published in ProPublica links the official policy of China’s government to the fentanyl epidemic killing Americans, including a record number of Granite Staters. And Granite State GOP opponents of President Joe Biden’s border policy are pointing to it as more proof it is time to make a change in Washington.

ProPublica released a story last weekend by reporters Sebastian Rotella and Kirsten Berg about a Chinese American gangster named Xizhi Li who came to dominate the money laundering market for Mexican drug cartels. The ruthless cartels are making billions sending fentanyl and other drugs to users in the United States and beyond through the porous Southern border.

“At no time in the history of organized crime is there an example where a revenue stream has been taken over like this, and without a shot being fired,” retired DEA agent Thomas Cindric, a veteran of the elite Special Operations Division, told ProPublica. “This has enriched the Mexican cartels beyond their wildest dreams.”

Since 2006, China has exported more than $3.8 trillion through money laundering schemes according to the report. China now leads the world as the primary financial underwriter for the cartels.

According to ProPublica, the Chinese government certainly knows that its citizens around the globe are involved in money laundering for the cartels and it approves.

With a major world power now suspected of using America’s unsecured southern border to attack the United States, Republicans like retired Gen. Don Bolduc are laying the blame at the feed of Biden and his Democratic allies, including his opponent Sen. Maggie Hassan.

“It’s no secret the drug crisis is plaguing New Hampshire communities and families, exacerbated by the open-border policies supported by Sen. Hassan,” Bolduc’s spokesperson Kate Constantini told NHJournal. “Drugs are pouring in and killing Granite Staters while Sen. Hassan is hiding in her safe and cushy D.C. office. Parents across the country now have to worry about telling their own children they can’t eat Halloween candy because Democrats like Sen. Hassan continue to stay soft on crime and drugs.

“We’ll gladly compare our vision for a secure border and strong communities over Sen. Hassan’s pathetic record any day.”

The issue is more problematic for Hassan because she sits on the powerful Homeland Security Committee which has direct oversight of border security policy.

Former senior FBI official Frank Montoya, Jr. told ProPublica China supports the money laundering business which props up the cartels as part of a policy to further weaken the United States.

“We suspected a Chinese ideological and strategic motivation behind the drug and money activity,” Montoya told ProPublica.

He offered this rationale to ProPublica for the Communist government’s policy.

“To fan the flames of hate and division. The Chinese have seen the advantages of the drug trade. If fentanyl helps them and hurts this country, why not?”

The Hassan campaign did not respond to a request for comment. But in the first U.S. Senate debate of the general election Tuesday, Hassan insisted she supports “a secure, orderly and humane border,” and that she supports additional “physical barriers,” aka “a wall.”

But as a senator, Hassan repeatedly voted against funding the border wall former President Donald Trump tried to build while he was in office. And she opposes deporting illegal immigrants who successfully make their way into the nation, also known as “interior enforcement.” 

Karoline Leavitt, in an apparent neck-and-neck race with incumbent Democrat Rep. Chris Pappas, also blames her opponent for the border problem.

“With each passing day, Chinese fentanyl continues to be smuggled across our wide-open southern border. Our families and communities are being poisoned by this dangerous drug, and we cannot afford another weak leader in D.C. who will act as if this problem isn’t occurring,” Leavitt said. “We need a representative who will work with law enforcement to secure our communities and stop this dangerous drug from pouring into our state.”

Pappas also did not respond to a request for comment.

Both Pappas and Hassan heard testimony earlier this year from national security officials who testified that Chinese triads are supplying Mexican cartels with the chemicals needed to make fentanyl. Those drugs are making their way into New Hampshire with deadly consequences.

New Hampshire’s two largest cities, Manchester and Nashua, are on target for record opioid overdose deaths this year, thanks to the fentanyl flooding the streets. According to American Medical Response, a large ambulance company that services New Hampshire, opioid deaths continue to rise.

Data for August, the most recent set available, show Nashua has seen 32 suspected opioid-related deaths, topping last year’s 30 opioid deaths.

“Nashua remains on pace to have the highest number of suspected deaths from opioids in one year since the opioid epidemic began in 2015,” AMR states in its monthly report.

Manchester is on pace to have the highest number of suspected opioid-related deaths in a year since 2017, with more than 71 opioid deaths projected for the year. As of the end of August, the Queen City has 45 suspected opioid overdose deaths on record.

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.”

‘Shame On You!’ Rep. Perez Takes to House Floor to Call Out Hassan, Pappas Over Border Policy

In an emotional speech from the floor of the New Hampshire House, Rep. Maria Perez accused members of the state’s federal delegation of treating voters of color like “tokens” while supporting Trump-era immigration policies.

“I will say to the congressional delegation who’s been criticizing the previous administration about going to the border and speaking negatively about immigrants — What happened to you? You tokenized us to talk negatively about the previous administration, but now you’re utilizing immigrants to win some votes. Shame on you!” Perez said.

Perez echoed complaints from the New Hampshire Democratic Asian American Pacific Islander Caucus which is critical of U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan and Rep. Chris Pappas’ right turn on immigration.

 

“All of us feel like we’re tokens,” said Shideko Terai, a member of the New Hampshire AAPI Caucus. “This is not okay. You can’t use us and abuse us.”

According to multiple sources, leaders in the state Democratic Party have been pressuring Black and Brown activists to remain silent as Pappas and Hassan push for Trump-era immigration policies like building more of the border wall and continued enforcement of Title 42 authority against would-be migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“I feel very disgraceful to calling myself a Democrat because a lot of Democrats have been calling people [of color] onto the carpet saying just to say ‘do not go out in public, do not talk about it,'” Perez said Thursday. “Shame on you! Shame on you for trying to silence our voices.”

Terai says she received the same message from Granite State Democratic Party leaders. “I was told, ‘We have to be really careful. We need Sen. Hassan’s fundraising,’” Terai said.

Last week, the New Hampshire Democratic Party Latino Caucus resigned from the party en masse over Hassan and Pappas’s new policies. Now, Perez said, it is a non-partisan organization promoting issues important to her community.

“I had to take a hard decision for my caucus to leave the NHDP,” Perez said. “We left the executive committee of the Democratic Party because my caucus doesn’t feel welcomed by the Democratic Party. I believe our community has been tokenized, and it’s time for us to win the respect.”

Sen. Maggie Hassan in front of the Trump-era wall at the U.S.-Mexico border in April 2022.

Hassan’s reversal on immigration, from repeatedly voting against Trump’s border wall to calling for more of it to be completed, has caught the attention of national media. According to Politico, Hassan is one of a handful of embattled Senate Democrats whose prospects for re-election are in trouble and are trying to distance themselves from Biden and his policy.

“On social media, where they shy away from praise of the president and instead focus on their efforts to prod the White House to action, it’s hard to tell they’ve voted in line with Biden no less than 96 percent of the time,” Politico reported Thursday. And, they add “Democratic operatives” say Hassan is making the right move politically by supporting tougher immigration policies, “even if it’s at the expense of alienating some progressives.”

Some of those progressives at the national level are speaking out.

“Attn: Sen. Hassan. We need you in the Senate, but going after GOP anti-immigration voters and introducing a bill to keep Ukrainian and LGBTQ migrants out will lose you more voters than you gain,” tweeted Douglas Rivlin, communications director with the progressive immigration group America’s Voice.

In a later tweet, he added: “Sen. Hassan [is] defining Dems as the party in support of Stephen Miller’s approach to excluding immigrants, and refugees.”

Stephen Miller was President Donald Trump’s lead immigration policy advisor.

New Hampshire’s lead immigrant’s rights advocate, Eva Castillo, is outraged by Hassan’s pro-wall politics.

“It was a slap in the face for us Latino immigrants,” said Castillo, director of the New Hampshire Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees. “She could have talked about anything other than the stupid wall.

“That’s not an issue for a New Hampshire incumbent senator to be running on. I’m sick and tired of people playing politics with immigration, on both sides. And it’s especially annoying when it’s the Democrats that are supposed to be friendlier to immigrants,” Castillo said.

Hassan apparently needs the help. A new UNH Survey Center poll found Hassan is in a statistical tie with her potential GOP rivals retired Gen. Don Bolduc, state Sen. Chuck Morse, and former Londonderry Town Manager Kevin Smith, despite the fact they have very little name ID.

Also problematic for Hassan: Just 35 percent of voters have a favorable view of the incumbent senator, while 51 percent view her unfavorably.

 

Hispanic Leaders Resign From NH Dem Latino Caucus Over Hassan, Pappas Immigration Stance

Sen. Maggie Hassan may have thought a photoshoot in front of Trump’s border wall was smart politics. But for members of the New Hampshire Democratic Latino Caucus, it was the last straw.

“That was the last kick in the butt for the immigrant community, and all of us as Latinos,” said Eva Castillo.

Castillo is executive director of the New Hampshire Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees and, until recently, a high-profile member of the New Hampshire Democratic Latino Caucus. But on Tuesday she and several of her fellow leaders in the Latino community sent the caucus a joint letter of resignation from the caucus to state party chair Ray Buckley over the behavior of Hassan and fellow Democrat incumbent Rep. Chris Pappas.

“For many years, we have struggled, unsuccessfully, to have our voices heard; this has never been made clearer than by the recent comments and position taken by Sen. Maggie Hassan and Congressman Chris Pappas concerning immigration,” they wrote. “We take from these signals that our community does not matter, and that immigration and humanitarian steps are only welcome when white refugees are in need; when black and brown asylum seekers come needing shelter, we start to demand more ‘border security.’

“The dangerous rhetoric and its accompanying attitude is something we expect from the New Hampshire Republican Party and their fear-mongering slew of candidates, but when one of our Democratic leaders acts in the same way, we must draw a line,” they added.

The letter was signed by Castillo, caucus vice-chair Sebastian Fuentes, delegate at large Marcus Ponce de Leon, and state Rep. Maria Perez (D-Milford).

“It’s pretty pathetic they are using immigrants as tokens,” Castillo told NHJournal.

Their anger is in response to the two Democrats’ support for keeping Title 42 authority in place at the border. That authority, put in place by the Trump administration when the COVID-19 pandemic began, has been used to turn away some 2 million would-be border crossers. Liberals and progressives say they want to end it. Pappas and Hassan say they want to keep it.

And that is not all. Both Democrats are talking up border security as a priority. Despite having repeatedly voted against funding a border wall, Hassan is now touting her support for “physical barriers” in a video on Twitter.

Castillo said Hassan’s video was an example of shameless pandering, as was her call for more “barriers” at the border.

“What, are you going to put up hedges?” she asked.

On Jack Heath’s radio show Wednesday morning, Pappas repeated his support for keeping Title 42 in place. “I think the administration has to be mindful of what their plan is to make sure the border is safe.”

Castillo said Pappas and Hassan’s move to the right on immigration makes no sense. No Republican was going to vote for either candidate, she said, and their maneuvers are now alienating the progressive voters they need.

“They’re not getting any votes from Republicans,” Castillo said.

She was not the only Granite State progressive upset by their behavior.

Rep. David Meuse (D-Portsmouth) was shocked by Hassan’s “Trump Wall” video and he called on the senator to apologize.

“106 secs of posturing and ingratiation to an audience unlikely to vote for her has left Sen. Maggie Hassan with thousands of bridges to repair not only to Latinos—but to every NH ally who has supported compassionate immigration reform. Make this right @SenatorHassan,” he tweeted.

Outspoken progressive firebrand state Rep. Sherry Frost (D-Dover) joined him.

“I stand in complete solidarity with my immigrant brothers, sisters, & others. I know this isn’t a new (gross) position for @SenatorHassan but I hoped she could change. I have no idea why @ChrisPappasNH is following along.”

Hassan and Pappas’ shift to the right on the border makes little sense to Republicans, either.

“Pretending to support a wall at our southern border won’t prevent the political walls from caving in on Maggie Hassan,” NRSC chair Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) told NHJournal. “As someone who voted with Joe Biden and Chuck Schumer three times to defund wall construction last year, Maggie Hassan’s 2021 actions speak louder to New Hampshirite voters than any 2022 words or border visits will. That’s why Granite Staters will send a Republican to the U.S. Senate to replace her.”

A New Hampshire GOP strategist who spoke to NH Journal on background pointed out the reaction from progressives was not merely grousing. It was planned.

“The thing that really stuck out to me wasn’t the fact that the letter went out, it was the coordination and public anger afterward. People like David Meuse, Sherry Frost, and Wendy Thomas — well-known officials in New Hampshire Democrat circles — took to Twitter and publicly excoriated Hassan and Pappas for the decision, choosing to stand with the Latino Caucus instead of their vulnerable incumbent federal delegation.

“When Hassan and Pappas need these folks’ support down the line, you can bet they won’t answer the phone,” the strategist said.

Representatives for Pappas and Hassan did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday. So far, New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Raymond Buckley is silent as well.