N.H. Republicans drift from national party
Delegation breaks on major issues
By Rick Klein, Globe Staff
December 26, 2005
WASHINGTON — With signs pointing to a resurgent Democratic Party in New Hampshire, the state’s all-Republican congressional delegation is becoming increasingly at odds with the national Republican Party in a state that was long a GOP bellwether, according to an analysis of votes and other actions in Congress over the past year.
Congressmen Jeb Bradley and Charles Bass voted for expanded stem cell research and opposed drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and Bradley notably declined to endorse Bush’s Social Security plan.
Senator John E. Sununu opposed Bush’s plan for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, joined a filibuster to insert civil liberties protections into the USA Patriot Act, and voted against his party leadership on several major spending bills.
Even the state’s senior senator, Judd Gregg, who is a member of the GOP leadership and generally backs the party’s priorities, voted against the transportation bill and the massive energy bill that grew out of Vice President Dick Cheney’s energy task force.
The senators and congressmen say they are acting in the tradition of the state’s libertarian brand of conservatism, even if the national GOP moves in a different direction. But Democrats and some independent observers, pointing to the fact that Senator John F. Kerry beat President Bush in New Hampshire, and that Governor John Lynch , a Democrat, is the most popular official in the state, say the Republican senators and congressmen are trying to distance themselves from an increasingly unpopular national GOP.