State Rep quits GOP over Kimball, Binnie alliance
Amid a debate about litmus tests and party unity, State Rep. Fred Leonard from Rochester announced that he is leaving the Republican Party and registering as an independent because of Republican State Chair candidate Jack Kimball’s new alliance with Seacoast businessman Bill Binnie, a prominent moderate in the GOP.
Leonard posted his announcement on the UnionLeader.com website. Responding to a Sunday editorial castigating Kimball for telling NH Journal he would hold state candidates, and even Republican presidential candidates, to party platform litmus tests while recruiting moderates to raise money for the party, Leonard wrote, “This hits the nail on the head for me…I’ve been arguing this issue of Binnie and Benders [sic] pro-choice stance with the Rochester 912ers…they talk conservative principles, but when it comes to Kimball’s decisions, they fold on these principles.”
“I’m registering as an independent and resigning from the state committee effective immediately…I will not be part of a GOP when its leaders act as hypocrites,” Leonard continued.
NH Journal attempted to contact Leonard for further comment but he did not respond to our request.
Leonard was a vocal critic on Jack Kimball’s Facebook page last week of the chair candidate’s announcement that Bill Binnie would serve as his finance chairman if he were to win the top party spot on January 22nd. Binnie is pro-choice, supported a VAT tax, opposed Arizona’s tough new immigration law, and supports gay marriage. Some view Kimball’s embrace of Binnie as hypocritical because, as he told NH Journal, Kimball has committed to hold candidates for public office to a platform litmus test.