Stateline Story

Libertarian Group Targets New Hampshire

Leaders of the Free State Project, a libertarian movement planning to get 20,000 liberty-minded people to establish a "free state," announced Wednesday that New Hampshire has been selected as the group's target.

New Hampshire, whose motto is "Live Free or Die," won a popular vote among the group's 5,000 members, beating out nine other finalists selected for their small populations and libertarian tendencies.

Following New Hampshire in order was Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Alaska, Maine, Vermont, Delaware, South Dakota and North Dakota.

Leaders of the group hope to quadruple their membership by 2005 and move en-masse to New Hampshire, where they'll theoretically get jobs, elect their compatriots to office, begin slashing taxes and start dismantling the government.

After meeting members of the Project last summer, New Hampshire Gov. Craig Benson (R) said he was pleased to find they were not extremists, but law-abiding citizens who believe in low taxes and limited government.

"As with all new citizens, I expect they will be positive contributors to New Hampshire, and I welcome them," Benson said in a written statement.

New Hampshire received the most votes in every region in the U.S. except the West, where Wyoming was a popular choice.

Dave Dawson, Libertarian Party chairman in runner-up Wyoming, said that he doubts the Project will achieve its goal and he encouraged members unwilling to move to the East Coast to consider Wyoming.

"I doubt there are 20,000 libertarians in the whole US with that kind of dedication. I think 20,000 is a fantasy, but we don't need nearly that many," to influence the government, Dawson said.