Last night, Kevin Smith, one of the leading opponents of women’s reproductive freedom and marriage equality in the Granite State, announced he will run for US Senate. Smith was a lobbyist for the anti-choice, far-right group Cornerstone Action, advocated for making abortion illegal in New Hampshire and defunding Planned Parenthood — and called being gay a “lifestyle choice.” With Don Bolduc and Chuck Morse in the race, and Kevin Smith announcing his plan to run, the GOP’s candidates are in for a chaotic and messy race to the right, with the entire Republican field focusing on the most extreme elements in the Republican party — not what matters to Granite Staters. In response to Smith’s announcement, NHDP Chair Ray Buckley released the following statement: “Anti-choice and anti-marriage equality extremist Kevin Smith’s decades-long record supporting a total ban on abortion in the Granite State, defunding Planned Parenthood, and opposing marriage equality is deeply out of step with New Hampshire. It’s clear that the New Hampshire GOP Senate primary is going to be a messy race to the right and full of candidates who are completely out of step with the Live Free or Die State.” Fast Facts:
Republicans are stuck with their “B-tier candidates.” Every Republican running for Senate, including Kevin Smith, has previously run a failed campaign — and couldn't even get out of a Republican primary. Longtime New Hampshire GOP strategists are hitting the panic button, telling the Cook Political Report that there’s “an open acknowledgment that what we’re looking at are B-tier candidates,” and “Republicans are still searching for a top recruit." Meanwhile columnist David Shribman noted, “no big figure wants to take the big step to run for the office," and former GOP Chair Wayne MacDonald expressed concern about whether the Republican field will be able to raise enough money to be competitive.
This will be a messy GOP primary with a lot of “bloodletting.” With Smith announcing his plan to run, Chuck Morse now in the race, and Don Bolduc making it clear he’s not going to play nice, this will be a messy GOP primary with a lot of “bloodletting” that will leave the Republican Party scrambling and in shambles by the time the general election starts.
Smith Is An Anti-Choice Extremist Who Fought To Ban Abortion And Defund Planned Parenthood
Smith Has Repeatedly Supported Defunding Planned Parenthood. In 2011, Smith applauded then-Congressman Mike Pence’s efforts to defund Planned Parenthood saying, Planned Parenthood “is one organization that should simply be off the taxpayers’ backs.” In 2011 after the Executive Council voted to defund Planned Parenthood in New Hampshire, Smith said, “The citizens of New Hampshire don't want their tax dollars to go to the largest provider of abortions, and that's Planned Parenthood.” [Union Leader, 7/17/11]
Smith Opposed Repealing An Abortion Ban. As a State Representative, Smith argued against legislation that would repeal New Hampshire’s 1894 abortion ban saying, “It's unfortunate that this bill comes just four days before Mother's Day when it's one of the most anti-women bills this session.” He also argued that doctors who perform abortions should face penalties, saying, “There will be no more penalties against doctors who damage the life or health of a woman during an abortion.” [Union Leader, 5/8/97]
As A State Representative, Smith Authored an Abortion Ban. [Union Leader, 5/1/99]
Smith Fought To Repeal Marriage Equality In New Hampshire And Argued That Being Gay Or Lesbian Was A Choice
Smith Wanted to Repeal Same Sex Marriage. When he served as president of Cornerstone Action, Kevin Smith said a gay marriage repeal was a “top social priority” and that voters “never wanted gay marriage in the first place.” [Union Leader, 11/4/10]
Smith Also Said that Being Gay is a “Lifestyle Choice.” In addition to wanting to repeal same sex marriage, Smith also said that being gay “is a lifestyle choice.” [Concord Monitor, 5/10/09]
Donald Trump will loom over the primary. Donald Trump remains laser-focused on New Hampshire. He has put out multiple statements alleging massive voter fraud in the state, and released statements praising Don Bolduc. Trump supporters control the New Hampshire Republican Party and will play a key role in deciding whoever wins the Republican nomination. A concerning prospect given the “disconnect between traditional Republicans and Trump Republicans,” leading some to claim “The Trump element in the party doesn’t have the status or capability to win the general election.”