Concord—February 10, 2022—Republican-turned-Democratic state Rep. Bill Marsh announced Wednesday he will seek to challenge Sen. Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro).
Marsh, of Brookfield and a member of the Carroll County legislative delegation, told the Sun Wednesday the gap between his views and Bradley’s on issues like short-term rentals is like a “chasm the size of the Grand Canyon.”
Last September, Marsh, a retired ophthalmologist, switched parties, releasing a statement he was opting to leave the GOP following a series of disagreements with GOP leadership over vaccines and the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If the candidacies survive their respective parties’ primaries in September, they would square off in November’s general election for the District 3 seat. While district lines are being redrawn in the Legislature, it appears likely Senate District 3 will continue to cover Carroll County, including Conway.
Short-term renting has been become a hot topic of late. Bradley has been helping craft a bill, SB 249, that would prohibit towns from banning STRs but allow towns to regulate them. But Marsh opposes any effort that would limit a town’s ability to regulate land use through zoning rules.
“I think what Jeb is trying to do at this point in time is to appease some of the more radical people in the Republican Party,” said Marsh, adding that means allowing “them to do whatever they want to on their private property, irrespective of how it affects their neighbors.”
“I’ve had to live with that for years at my summer house on Lake Wentworth, which happens to be right next to a short-term rental. I can’t support that,” he said.
Bradley told the Sun that he believes that allowing towns to ban STRs would lead to costly litigation as happened in Conway. The town recently lost in Superior Court to STR owner Scott Kudrick.
“The point I’ve made from the beginning of this debate is there needs to be a compromise so that there’s the appropriate regulatory structure in place to prevent party houses, other disturbances of the neighborhood,” said Bradley.
“I think that the legislation I sponsored a couple of years ago was headed in that direction and got sidetracked by the pandemic. We’re back again at it,” Bradley added.
Marsh, who sat on Gov. Chris Sununu’s Economic Reopening Task Force, was asked why voters should choose him over Bradley.
“I think that Sen. Bradley has made concessions to the far right members of his party,” said Marsh. “I think that I can stand up for the values that most New Hampshire people believe in. I don’t want the state to be remade in the image of a libertarian type place. It really bothers me that those are the people that have taken over the Republican Party on the state level.”
For his part, Bradley — who will be vying for his eighth term in the state Senate — said Marsh has taken a “hard left turn.”
Bradley said he has known Marsh for years and has worked with him on important items like Medicaid expansion. “It’s kind of sad to see him walk away from, those kind of commonsense New Hampshire values and principles, and take a hard left turn,” said Bradley.
“I haven’t changed a thing. My top priorities are growth in the economy, opportunities for hardworking people, solving problems, things like Medicaid expansion, the record surpluses, that we have all the things that have made New Hampshire, one of the most livable states in the nation,” said Bradley.
Marsh said Bradley’s stance on a vaccine commission made him angry. He said the commission recommended the state attempt to block federal vaccine mandates.
Bradley said he is fully vaccinated and thinks people should talk to their doctors and make an informed decision on whether they wish to be vaccinated or not. Meanwhile, those on the left would have people fired for refusing vaccines.
Bradley added that not long ago, Marsh drafted a vaccination bill that underwent only minor tweaking.
“He’s totally backtracked on that to the point that he thinks that parents have no right to say whether their kids should be vaccinated or not in school,” said Bradley.