#ComplicitChris Sununu has played a dangerous game by using extremist factions to advance his own political agenda, and in the process built power for those individuals and groups.
Take the Free State Project, which seeks to move 20,000 libertarians to New Hampshire to take over and dismantle state government – ironically, in part by running for state and local office. Since many FSP candidates hide their affiliation, Granite State Progress regularly researches and publicizes a list of Free State Project candidates. Our organization released one report in 2017 that found that nearly half of the Free State Project candidates identified were actively promoting secession, an idea FSP has espoused since its creation. What’s more, these Free State candidates had created off-shoot groups like the NH Foundation for Independence to actively organize for it.
The report sent alarm bells through the Republican establishment, the veil used by many Free Staters to run for office. The Republican House Speaker at the time, Shawn Jasper, publicly called for the GOP to “distance ourselves from the Free State Project.”
Granite State Progress’ report was hotly debated during the next Republican state committee executive committee meeting, with some Republican leaders arguing to disassociate and others to collaborate. At stake was the fact that many Free Staters are eager activists, providing substantial volunteer support for Republican politicians and initiatives – including some of then-Governor Chris Sununu’s pet political projects.
There was no decision made to distance themselves.
As a result, the Free State Project secessionists became more emboldened in their message, publicly doubling down on the idea and vocally condemning the few Republican leaders who had been willing to speak out. And during the 2020 election cycle #ComplicitChris Sununu campaigned with Republican State Senate candidate Carla Gericke, the past president of the Free State Project and current president of the secessionist NH Foundation for Independence. Gericke can also be found pictured alongside illegal armed militias at ReOpen events – the same armed militias Sununu has failed to condemn.