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December 02. 2013 8:52PM

NH GOP star shines for national media after her candidacy greeted with 'sexist smear'

Republican congressional hopeful state Rep. Marilinda Garcia, R-Salem, received national conservative media attention Monday after a Democratic state lawmaker last week disparagingly compared her to reality television star Kim Kardashian.

Manchester Democratic Rep. Peter Sullivan's Twitter posts critical of the latest GOP 2nd District U.S. House candidate resulted in an opinion piece Monday titled "The War on Conservative Minorities" by columnist John Fund on National Review Online.

Shortly after Garcia announced her candidacy on Nov. 25, Sullivan posted on Twitter, referencing conservative state Reps. Al Baldasaro of Londonderry and William O'Brien of Mont Vernon, the former New Hampshire House speaker:

"She's Al Baldassaro (sic) in stiletto heels, a lightweight and O'Brien clone."

"Bill O'Brien + Kim Kardashian = Marilinda Garcia"

"She is a right-wing, homophobic, anti-worker shill for the Koch Brothers."

He later wrote, "After careful consideration, I want to apologize to Kim Kardashian for comparing her to a right-wing extremist like Marilinda Garcia."

The posts began a partisan war of words for a brief time on Twitter, and Garcia said in a statement, "To me, the most unfortunate byproducts of such personal attacks, negativity and vitriol are that they discourage good people from getting involved in politics, cause citizens to be disgusted at the political process, and tarnish the reputations of all elected officials just by virtue of association."

Fund's opinion piece Monday brought national attention to Garcia, a 30-year-old four-term state representative.

Garcia is a Boston native of Italian/Hispanic descent who has lived in Salem since childhood.

Fund wrote that what he called Sullivan's "sexist smear" of Garcia received "virtually no" media attention in New Hampshire, "much less nationally." He compared it to the large amount of coverage some media outlets gave to Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio taking a sip of water while delivering the GOP response to President Obama's State of the Union address last January.

"Progressives often reserve their deepest hostility for conservative minorities such as Garcia because they are a threat to the notion that minorities should only think and vote only like leftists," Fund wrote.

"As former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, Justice Clarence Thomas, and former representative J. C. Watts can attest, people on the left reserve their harshest and most personal attacks for minorities who have the audacity to wander off the ideological plantation."

Sullivan, responding to the Fund piece, wrote on his Facebook page:

"I was just attacked by the National Review. My life is truly complete."

He wrote that Fund "is smitten with Miss Marilinda, and is butthurt that the mainstream media hasn't sufficiently hounded me."

Earlier Monday, Sullivan stood by his previous posts, writing on his Facebook page:

"Yeah, I said it, and I stand by it. The comparison is accurate. Garcia is a creepy pseudo-Christian right-wing extremist who gets a free pass because she doesn't look the part."

jdistaso@unionleader.com


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