New Hampshire Democrats Gone Wild -- One Apology, One Resignation Over Palin Comments

A New Hampshire state representative has resigned his position and announced he will not run for re-election after writing that a dead Sarah Palin is "more dangerous than a live one."

State Rep. Timothy Horrigan stepped down Thursday after posting a Facebook page in which he described the "myth" of the former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican presidential candidate.

His resignation comes after another New Hampshire Democratic candidate apologized the same day for his Facebook post in which he wished Sarah Palin and the father of her grandchild, Levi Johnston, had been on the plane that crashed Tuesday, killing former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens.

"Just wish Sarah and Levy [sic] were on board," Keith Halloran originally wrote in reference to Palin and Johnston, her daughter Bristol's ex-boyfriend.

In his post, Horrigan wrote, "a dead Palin wd [sic] be even more dangerous than a live one...she is all about her myth & if she was dead, she cldn't [sic] commit any more gaffes."

New Hampshire Democrats said apologizing was the right thing for Halloran to do but responded differently to the Horrigan resignation, saying GOP Rep. Steve Vaillancourt should also be taken to task by the New Hampshire Republican Party for defending Horrigan in an e-mail to media and fellow lawmakers.

"Rep. Horrigan didn't wish anyone dead; he simply stated a political truth," Vaillancourt reportedly wrote. "Were Sarah Palin to die today, her myth, like actor James Dean, would surpass anything she's done in life. If Dem officials took Rep. Horrigan to the woodshed for these remarks, they rather than he should be resigning."

"If the New Hampshire Republican Party is really concerned with abhorrent political speech, they should immediately denounce Rep. Vaillancourt's comments and ask him to resign. Will they remain silent or practice what they preach?" asked Harrell Kirstein, press secretary for the New Hampshire Democratic Party.

In his apology Thursday, Horrigan didn't say much about feeling badly for uttering the sentiment.

"I apologize to anyone who feels they need an apology from me. And anyone who feels the need to be angry at me is free to be angry at me. I made some mistakes, but I am not ashamed of who I am. I am not ashamed of anything which I am. Nothing anyone says to me is going to change the way I feel about myself -- especially if you don't know me," he wrote on his website.

He then went on to say he's not going to take the blame for any other Democrats except maybe former Democratic presidential candidate Mike Dukakis.

"I take no blame whatsoever for anything any national Democrat has ever done, with the possible exception of Dukakis. I used to work for Dukakis, so maybe I am partially responsible for him. I might also add that I was born in 1956 and didn't start to become politically active till 1968 or thereabouts -- and I didn't turn 18 till 1974. Any political events before that time period happened without my involvement," he wrote.

Halloran posted an apology Thursday on his Facebook page saying he wishes the best for Palin, Johnston and their families.

The New Hampshire Republican State Committee denounced Halloran's comment and called on Gov. John Lynch and other state Democratic leaders to condemn it.

"The widespread fixation among New Hampshire Democrats with Governor Palin's death proves that there is a full blown epidemic of hatred and derangement festering in Governor Lynch's party," Ryan Williams, a spokesman for the committee, said in a written statement.

Mike Brunnelle, director of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, told that Halloran should have apologized.

"We don't condone this type of rhetoric," he said. "We condemn it. It's wholly inappropriate. ... They have no place in the political dialogue in New Hampshire or anywhere in the country," he said.

Brunnelle was initially unaware of Halloran's apology when asked for reaction. He said he wasn't sure whether Halloran apologized because of the immediate backlash his comments caused.

Horrigan issued a terse resignation letter to New Hampshire House Speaker Terie Norelli, and before he apologized, Halloran had sent a snarky message to The Associated Press through Facebook saying, "It's just a tempest in their Tea Pot."

Republican state Rep. D.J. Bettencourt, who wrote the original post that Halloran commented on, said he "was just absolutely shocked and disgusted by that post."

And prior to Horrigan's statement, Ryan Williams, spokesman for the state Republican Party, called Halloran's remarks "a new low."

"His publicly stated death wish for Governor Palin and her family is abhorrent, and has no place in our public discourse," he said.

A spokeswoman for Gov. John Lynch, a Democrat, said the governor's thoughts are with the families of those killed in the crash.

"He finds the comments appalling and believes they have no place in the public discourse," Pamela Walsh said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.