A moderate Republican in a party that no longer has much room for anyone to the left of reactionary zealot, Rep. Marsh officially defected to the Democratic Party on Tuesday.
He was finally pushed over the edge by the GOP’s all-out war on Covid vaccinations.
“I can’t stand idly by while extremists reject the reasonable precautions of vaccines and mask wearing,” Marsh said in a statement announcing the switch.
The breaking point came after Republicans in the House held an event outside the Capitol building in opposition to President Biden’s executive order mandating businesses with more than 100 employees require Covid-19 vaccines or weekly tests on their employees. It was billed as a press conference but soon turned into a raucous rally of more than 500 screaming anti-vax lunatics.
The event on Tuesday was a raucous event that showed yet again the depth of the right wing’s depravity. Their own Speaker of the House died in December of Covid-19 after Republican legislators held multiple mask-free gatherings, which were attended by several legislators who tested positive for Covid soon thereafter.
Marsh spoke out against his colleagues in the strongest terms possible, blaming them for Speaker Dick Hinch’s death:
As you’d expect, Republican lawmakers were unmoved by the death of one of their own, as they continued to meet without taking proper precautions. Their arrogant, blithe approach earned them a public rebuke from Republican Gov. Chris Sununu, who left no ambiguity about the depth of his frustration.
“And for those who are out there doing just the opposite just to make some bizarre political point, it’s horribly irresponsible, it really is,” Sununu said at the time. “It has horrible consequences. That’s not speculation, that’s not supposition, that’s fact.”
Rep. Marsh’s exit from the GOP caucus was a long time coming. He continued to speak out against Republican irresponsibility after Hinch’s death, but instead of convincing the party to re-examine its actions, his caucus simply stripped him of his vice-chairmanship of the Health and Human Services Committee. He wound up on the Election Law Committee, but the GOP stripped him of that position after he left the party on Tuesday.
Democrats lost both houses of the New Hampshire legislature last year in what was a very ugly showing for the party. But there are signs of a rebound; last week, Democrats flipped a traditionally Republican seat in a special election, and now with Marsh’s defection, they’ve reduced their deficit to 20 seats. It sounds like a lot, but the New Hampshire House has 400 seats, making a 2022 flip back to blue eminently possible.
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