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Conspiracy Theorists, Extremists, and Hate Groups, Oh My! Ayotte’s Extreme Lurch Knows No Limits

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Conspiracy Theorists, Extremists, and Hate Groups, Oh My! Ayotte’s Extreme Lurch Knows No Limits

While former U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte continues to struggle to prove her MAGA bona fides in New Hampshire’s GOP gubernatorial primary, she has found one constituency to rally around her: a coalition of extremists, conspiracy theorists, and designated hate groups, which grew this morning with the announcement that state Representative Ken Weyler has endorsed her campaign for governor.

Weyler is best known for spreading dangerous and baseless conspiracy theories throughout the pandemic, including alleging that “the coronavirus vaccine contains a ‘living organism with tentacles,’” that it “darkens the eyes of newborns,” that “5G technology had somehow been inserted into the vaccine to control people’s thoughts,” and “called the pope and others ‘at the top’ of the Roman Catholic Church ‘satanists’ and ‘luciferians’ for backing public health measures.”

Weyler’s misinformation campaign was even condemned by Republican Governor Chris Sununu, who called for the legislator to be stripped of his leadership position and accused him of being detached from reality, proving yet again that Ayotte will not stop at anything to try to pander to the most extreme factions of the far right.

Weyler joins a long roster of fringe leaders who have endorsed Ayotte or appeared alongside her, including:

  • State Senator Carrie Gendreau, who has a long history of attacking the LGBTQ+ community — including sparking a hateful controversy that compelled a New Hampshire Town Manager to resign — and most recently introduced legislation to ban abortion with no exceptions for rape or incest after just 15 days.

  • Extremist power-couple Rachel Goldsmith and Jeremy Kauffman, who Ayotte attended an event with last summer. Goldsmith is the leader of the New Hampshire chapter of the extremist group Moms for Liberty, which threatened to put “bounties” on educators’ heads for teaching “divisive concepts.” Kauffman, Goldsmith’s husband, is the leader of the state’s notoriously far-right Libertarian Party and best known for his “incendiary rhetoric,” including a tweet where he defended his use of the n-word by claiming that “the only thing more racist than the term ‘is the idea that Black people are so fragile they’ll be hurt by seeing the word written out.’”

  • The New England White Network, a white supremacist hate group committed to spreading hate, racism, and antisemitism. The leader of the group, Ryan J. Murdough, cited Ayotte’s “anti-Massachusetts rhetoric” and her goal of keeping “invaders” out of New Hampshire as reasons he and his group are supporting her for governor. It took Ayotte more than a week to condemn this endorsement.

“After Granite Staters rejected Kelly Ayotte in 2016, she’s returned with a new strategy: embracing extremists and courting conspiracy theorists rather than focusing on the issues that are front-and-center for New Hampshire’s working families,” said DGA States Press Secretary Emma O’Brien. “In the race to the bottom that is the New Hampshire GOP primary, we look forward to watching Ayotte continue to twist herself in knots to try to prove her ‘conservative’ credentials.”