inside sources print logo
Get up to date New Hampshire news in your inbox

NH Republicans Threatened, Cars Keyed at Party Convention in Concord

At least 30 New Hampshire Republicans had their cars keyed, and several more received threatening messages as they participated in last weekend’s GOP biennial convention, part of a trend of rising political violence from the left.

“I didn’t expect this when I ran for representative, but it’s not going to stop me,” said state Rep. Lorie Ball (R-Salem.)

Ball was one of approximately 350 delegates who showed up at Concord High School on Saturday to conduct state party business and participate in the democratic process. Like more than two dozen other delegates, her car was damaged by vandals who appear to have targeted the GOP event. 

Di Lothrop, a party delegate and Nashua Republican Party leader is another vandalism victim distraught by the seeming hate behind the targeted strike in Concord. For Lothrop, it’s not the damage to her car but the damage people are exhibiting in their character.

“My husband Chuck and I are delegates. We were parked on the street adjacent to the high school’s main entrance on Warren Street,” she told NHJournal. “After the meeting, when we walked back to our car, my husband immediately noticed that our car had been keyed all along the driver’s side. The car in front of us had been keyed, too, as had several other cars along the same road.

“It seems as if someone knew there was a Republican event going on at the high school, and this was their chance to tell Republicans they hate us,” Lothrop said. “Divisiveness at its worst!”

In Ball’s case, the attacks go beyond damaging her car. She has also been subject to harassing and threatening phone calls and messages. In one case, she received a letter with an image of a gun and a handwritten message urging that someone “blow a f***ing hole in a gun owner’s head today. Save our children from GOP pr*cks.” Ball has since contacted police about the gun letter and has been in touch with the FBI about that threat.

And like many of her fellow House Republicans, a letter was sent to Ball’s home in January that referenced a recent vote and called her a “n*gger.”

Another victim of the car vandals, state Rep. Julius Soti (R-Windham), said the political temperature keeps rising in the state, and divisive language keeps ramping up. Soti himself started taking precautions when a liberal group put out a public list recently labeling Republicans and conservatives “extremist,” Soti said.

“I do look around a little bit; I do keep my eyes open,” he said.

The Israel-Hamas war has also inspired political attacks in the Granite State. Anti-Israel protesters have conducted two separate actions at the Elbit Systems facility in Merrimack. In both cases, some participants were arrested and now face charges of vandalism, damaging property, and other alleged crimes.

The progressive activists accused New Hampshire of bigotry in prosecuting those cases and pledged the protests would continue.

“Elbit and New Hampshire’s racist politicians thought they’d scare people with the trumped up charges they brought against the 3 activists that targeted Elbit in NH last November,” they said in a social media post. “They were dead wrong. Our people will never stop shutting this genocidal company down.”

Concord Police are investigating Saturday’s events, though they declined to respond to NHJournal’s requests for comment about the ongoing investigation. Some GOP delegates didn’t notice the damage until after they left the convention. Republican Party leaders are still reaching out, encouraging victims to contact the police.

Jeff Oligny, a former state representative who was a delegate on Saturday, said the party convention is all about volunteers giving their time. Delegates showed up to make changes to the GOP platform in order to do as much good for people in the state as possible, he said.

“It’s really kind of sad that someone would do that to people who are volunteering for the state,” Oligny said.

Lothrop said there are numerous security cameras near the high school, making her optimistic police will find whoever is behind the criminal act. She’s looking forward to her day in court with the suspect.

“I sure as hell hope they caught the person on video,” Lothrop said.

The New Hampshire GOP actively encourages anyone with information to contact the Concord Police Department at (603) 225-8600 and says, on X/Twitter, that they “look forward to bringing the perpetrator(s) to justice.”

GOP Rep. Corcoran Called Out for Using N-Word, Urging Others to Join In

Not long ago, state Rep. Travis Corcoran (R-Weare) wanted everyone to drop the “N-bomb.”

Now he just wants to drop the subject.

Corcoran, a self-styled intellectual rebel and part-time sci-fi writer (“a band of malcontents, dreamers, and libertarian radicals bolted privately-developed antigravity drives onto rusty seagoing cargo ships…”) took to Twitter earlier this year to urge everyone who follows him use the N-word as a protest against woke culture.

“We must all say or type the word’ n*gger’ in a public place, as a declaration that the progs can’t control our thoughts or our behaviors — EVEN IF WE DISLIKE THE WORD,” Corcoran wrote on his personal @MorlockP Twitter account. “It’s the ‘small pinch of incense’ test, in reverse. They demand ritual obedience. Disobey.”



Corcoran claimed in follow-up tweets that he dislikes the N-word and did not want to hurt people. But he thought it was important to use it to boldly push back against liberals in the fight for free speech and open expression.

As he says in his Twitter bio, “I came here to chew bubble gum and fight for a free New Hampshire…and I’m all out of bubble gum.”

So, what was his reaction when a NHJournal reporter called him to discuss his posts?

Corcoran hung up.

He also declined to respond to emails asking questions about his online persona.

And while Corcoran suggests he dislikes the N-word, he’s apparently comfortable with other slurs, a review of his social media reveals.

In 2021, Corcoran wrote, “I had some idiot respond to me, ‘What sort of person needs to spend $100K on a watch?’ Pissed me off to no end. I know, you know, and he knows that no one feels a NEED. They WANT to. And more power to them. People can spend on whatever they want. Using ‘need’ is a f*ggot move.”

In 2014, Corcoran tweeted, “You can say ‘the gay lifestyle is destructive’ w/o saying ‘disgusting f*ggots get diseases.’”

Corcoran’s troubling behavior online stretches back to his blog, where he defended the 2011 attempted assassination of Arizona Democratic Rep. Gabby Giffords. 

“I think that it is morally legitimate to kill pro-regulation senators and pro-regulation judges, if it can be done without harming innocents,” he wrote. (In fact, the shooter was schizophrenic and not motivated by partisan ideology.) When he made the comments, Corcoran was living in Massachusetts and working as a comic book dealer. He made national news when police followed up on his comments and seized a large cache of weapons from his home.

State GOP leaders, already dealing with the arrest of state Sen. Keith Murphy (R-Manchester) on assault charges, declined to respond to requests for comment. Several House members who spoke to NHJournal on background described Corcoran as “a bit full of himself.” And, one member noted, during the last session, a Hosue Democrat was heard shouting the N-word at a Black teen activist inside the State House.

Meanwhile, Corcoran has responded to the latest controversy online.

“Holy cow, I’m about to cross 2,500 followers….and by looking at the bios of the new followers, they’re all conservatives and libertarians,” Corcoran tweeted. “I’d like to thank all of the NH Dems who tweeted about me for making this possible.”

Espitia Apology to Klein Knight Reignites Racial Tensions Among Dems

A long-simmering feud between New Hampshire Democrats and progressives flared again this week, and it featured the same political figures who split the caucus months ago.

In an unexplained turn of events, state Rep. Manny Espitia, (D-Nashua), issued a public apology this week to state Rep. Nicole Klein Knight for accusing her of endangering the life of a Black Democratic activist. 

“On Feb. 2, I accused her of calling House security as retaliation against a young man. She has explained that she had been genuinely scared for her safety and I apologize for accusing her of such action,” Espitia wrote in the apology issued Wednesday.

Espitia did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday, and Klein Knight declined to comment when reached.

The saga began in January when Klein Knight confronted teen activist Jonah Wheeler in the State House and unleashed a verbal screed that included repeated use of the “n-word.” (Wheeler is Black.) She claimed she was attempting to confront what she believed were antisemitic statements and attitudes among BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) members of the progressive community. During the encounter, which she initiated, Klein Knight called security, claiming she feared for her own safety.

A group of BIPOC progressives responded by releasing a letter publicizing the incident and demanding an apology. The House Democratic Caucus leadership denounced Klein Knight and removed her from committee assignments.

The incident was followed by weeks of charges and countercharges, with progressives accusing traditional Democrats of racism, and in turn being accused of harboring antisemitic attitudes. Amid the political melee, Espitia accused Klein Knight of putting Wheeler’s life in danger simply by calling the police because, Espitia suggested, police officers are racists who present an inherent threat to people of color.

“She engaged in degrading, bigoted behavior against a young Black man, eventually calling security on him, despite being fully cognizant of the heightened dangers Black men face in this country in the presence of law enforcement,” Espitia said at the time. In the ensuing backlash, Espitia apologized. And despite his anti-police attitudes, he was tapped by House Democratic leaders to replace Klein Knight on the Criminal Justice committee.

It was an ugly series of confrontations the caucus appeared to have moved passed in the wake of the death of House Democratic Leader Renny Cushing in March. Then came Espitia’s apology, reopening the wounds.

Wheeler said Thursday that Espitia’s apology does not make sense, especially coming months after the original controversy.

“It’s inconsistent with the facts,” Wheeler said.

Alissandra Rodríguez-Murray, a progressive activist and spokesperson for the BIPOC Leaders and Organizers group that issued the first denunciation of Klein Knight, called Espitia’s apology disappointing.

“Rep. Klein Knight is still on her rampage against BIPOC organizers yet apparently, we were the ones causing party division. Really shows who @NHHouseDems *actually* care about (hint…it’s not Black and Brown people),” she tweeted.

Rodríguez-Murray has referred to Jewish people as “termites” on Twitter.

Asma Elhuni of the progressive action group Race Forward also called out Espitia for his apology.

“You have chosen to apologize to a White woman for trying to call security on a harmless young Black man legitimizing her racist fear of Black men. Do better! Siding with White fear vs naming racist behavior is called anti-Blackness!”

Espitia issued his apology as president of the New Hampshire Young Democrats. In February, using the same position as head of the Young Democrats, he issued a statement revoking the group’s endorsement of Klein Knight.

According to sources familiar with the situation, Klein Knight and others in the Democratic Jewish community have been pushing for Espitia to meet with them for months. Espitia indicated in his statement this week that dangers to the Jewish community in New Hampshire are a real concern.

“The Jewish community is experiencing a higher rate of anti-semitism in the past 2 years, and it is happening here in New Hampshire,” Espitia wrote.

Wheeler is a member of Rights and Democracy, RAD, as is state Rep. Maria Perez.

Perez was forced to apologize last year after she shared the statement “From the river to the sea, Palestine must be free,” on social media. It is a slogan used by the Iranian-backed Hamas terrorist organization to call for Israel’s destruction. The resulting controversy ended with Perez being booted from her leadership position.

Klein Knight has said RAD members took up a harassment campaign against her for criticizing Perez. That was the context for the January confrontation between Wheeler and Klein Knight.

Espitia himself has dealt with racism. Last year, the white supremacist group NSC 131 targeted Espitia with threats.

It is unclear how returning to this incident helps maintain unity inside the caucus, which is already facing a difficult political environment in November.

House Dem Says Cops a Danger to Black Men, Now Sits on Criminal Justice Committee

Democrats have replaced the representative who used the “N-Word” on the state House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee with the representative who said police are a danger to Black men.

It is yet another fiasco from the fallout of the Rep. Nicole Klein Knight (D-Manchester) incident, which continues to wreak havoc within the House Democratic Caucus.

Klein Knight was called out by Black and Latino progressives after she (allegedly) used the “N-Word” more than 20 times during a State House confrontation with 18-year-old Democratic activist Jonah Wheeler. During the encounter, Klein Knight also called security on Wheeler, who is Black.

Klein Knight, who has remained silent since NHJournal broke the story, was booted from her position on the Criminal Justice committee — which handles issues of policing and law enforcement — at the request of Democratic leaders. In a surprise — advocates for law enforcement call it shocking — move, Democrats replaced her with Rep. Manny Espitia (D-Nashua).

Espitia created a controversy of his own when he said Klein Knight’s decision to call State House security officers to confront Wheeler put the young man in danger because he is Black.

“Rep. Klein Knight represents one of the most racially diverse districts in the state and should therefore feel an even greater responsibility to uplift Black, Brown and Indigenous voices,” Espitia said last week. “Instead, she engaged in degrading, bigoted behavior against a young Black man, eventually calling security on him, despite being fully cognizant of the heightened dangers Black men face in this country in the presence of law enforcement.” [Emphasis added.]

Espitia issued a partial apology in response to widespread criticism.

“A statement I recently made in which I referenced the ‘heightened dangers Black men face in this country in the presence of law enforcement’ has been misrepresented in a news article to imply that I was calling the integrity of our Protective Services personnel into question,” Espitia wrote to his House colleagues. “I apologize for not choosing my words more carefully, and I appreciate you providing me the opportunity to make this important clarification.”

Espitia’s view, that systemic racism among law enforcement makes them a danger to people of color, is the basis of the #DefundThePolice movement supported by New Hampshire progressives. While it is embraced by the New Hampshire Black Lives Matter organization and the NH ACLU, polls show it is not a popular view among voters.

Espitia did not respond to a request for comment.

Now, Espitia sits on the committee that oversees law enforcement policy in the state, though his appointment was news to members of the committee contacted by New Hampshire Journal. Rep. Laura Pantelakos (D-Portsmouth) was surprised to learn of Espitia’s placement on the committee and she is not thrilled with his comment about police.

“I think that’s a stupid statement,” she said. 

Rep. John Burt (R-Goffstown), who also serves on the committee, was likewise surprised to learn Espitia was Klein Knight’s replacement.

“I personally think it’s the wrong pick. We deal strictly with law enforcement issues, if he’s already against law enforcement how can he be impartial on votes?” Burt said.

Hollis Police Chief Joseph Hoebeke, speaking as president of the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police, said Espitia’s comments are disheartening and frustrating. 

“You need to be very careful when you make assertions like that. I don’t think it’s appropriate for public officials to say things like that,” Hoebeke said.

Hoebeke said there is simply no data to prove New Hampshire police present a danger to Black men, and there has been a years-long movement in law enforcement to address community concerns. Instead of repeating the #DefundthePolice rhetoric, Espitia should reach out to law enforcement and engage in a conversation, Hoebeke said.

“We need to focus on relationships rather than make more divisions,” Hoebeke said. “Comments like that don’t help.”

Assistant Department of Safety Commissioner Eddie Edwards, said the state works hard to make sure all people are treated fairly. Edwards is Black and a former New Hampshire police chief.

“As someone with firsthand experience and accountability responsibilities, I believe no state is working harder to make certain all residents and visitors are treated with respect and dignity while interacting with law enforcement,” Edwards said.

Pantelakos would not say if Espitia’s views of law enforcement made him a good pick for the committee. Instead, she deferred to the judgment of House Minority Leader Renny Cushing (D-Hampton), who made the choice.

“I would assume that Minority Leader Cushing felt that (Espitia) could do the job. It’s not always easy to say who should be on the committee and who shouldn’t be on the committee,” she said.

Neither Cushing nor his deputy Rep. David Cote (D-Nashua), responded to a request for comment.

Espitia Issues Apology Over Claim State House Cops Are ‘Danger to Black Men’

Late Friday, progressive Democrat Rep. Manny Espitia (D-Nashua) issued a quasi-apology for his suggestion that Black men are in danger when they engage with State House security officers.

“A statement I recently made in which I referenced the “heightened dangers Black men face in this country in the presence of law enforcement” has been misrepresented in a news article to imply that I was calling the integrity of our Protective Services personnel into question,” Espitia wrote to his House colleagues.

“I apologize for not choosing my words more carefully, and I appreciate you providing me the opportunity to make this important clarification,” Espitia said.

On Thursday night, Espitia issues a statement condemning Manchester Democrat Nicole Klein Knight, who has been the center of a maelstrom this week after reportedly using the “n-word” in a confrontation with Democratic activist Jonah Wheeler, who is Black.

In his statement, Espitia — who is also head of the New Hampshire Young Democrats — denounced Klein Knight’s language and announced his organization was withdrawing its endorsement. He also suggested her behavior wasn’t merely racist, but potentially dangerous.

“Rep. Klein Knight represents one of the most racially diverse districts in the state and should therefore feel an even greater responsibility to uplift Black, Brown, and Indigenous voices. Instead, she engaged in degrading, bigoted behavior against a young Black man, eventually calling security on him, despite being fully cognizant of the heightened dangers Black men face in this country in the presence of law enforcement,” Espitia wrote.

Republican legislators immediately reacted to Espitia’s suggestion that State House officers posed a danger to Wheeler or anyone else.

“A statement attributed to one of our House colleagues appeared in a news article today that one could view as calling into question the integrity of our Protective Services personnel,” Speaker of the House Sherman Packard (R-Londonderry) wrote in an email to House members. “To be clear, General Court Protective Services provides unbiased security services to legislators, staff, and the public. They serve every legislator, staff person, and member of the public equally, fairly, and with the utmost professionalism.

“The leadership of Protective Services holds their officers to very high standards and we have a high level of confidence in each of them,” Packard added. “We are lucky to have them.”

Mark Morrison, a former president of the New Hampshire Police Association and a member of Gov. Chris Sununu’s Law Enforcement Accountability and Community and Transparency Commission, told NHJournal that Granite State police officers do a good job of protecting everyone, including minorities. He said it is simply not true that people of color in New Hampshire are less safe around police.

“I feel very confident that all (law enforcement) agencies in New Hampshire really work to make sure that that type of treatment does not happen to anybody,” Morrison said. “I do not believe there is any systematic discrimination that takes place with any New Hampshire agency.”

Espitia is a leader of the progressive wing of the New Hampshire Democratic Party and, Republicans were quick to note his comment echoes the “Defund the Police” movement backed by many progressives, including the New Hampshire ACLU and the Black Lives Matter organization. The push to defund police departments is widely seen as hurting Democrats at the ballot box.

Espitia did not respond to a request for comment.

Rep. Doug Trottier (R-Belmont) says he thinks Protective Services “do a good job.”

“No matter what color, race, anybody, I don’t think that puts anybody in safety concerns. For the most part, everybody is treated equally,” Trottier said.