Ever since Frank Szabo suggested the use of deadly force would be an , both New Hampshire Republicans and Democrats have been quite vocal in their opinion the GOP candidate for Hillsborough County Sheriff should make a swift exit from the race.
Szabo, however, says he's charging forward.
"The whole reason I got into the race is so people know the true powers of the sheriff, who is suppose to protect the rights and property of the people he's charged to protect," said Szabo. "This has never been about me. The need is still there for someone running who understood the true nature and authority of the sheriff."
Though Szabo , saying he didn't fully understand the context of the question being presented to him and got carried away due to his pro-life position, the outcry has continued.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Kevin Smith, Wednesday, called for Szabo to exit the race, and yesterday one of his Democratic counterparts followed suit.
“It’s outrageous to hear a candidate for a law enforcement office express utter disregard for the law," said former state senator Maggie Hasson. "All citizens of New Hampshire should condemn Frank Szabo’s violent threats and call on him to end his candidacy."
Szabo said he might feel the same way if another candidate were to express a similar sentiment.
"Obviously, the reaction that came out after Wednesday is completely understandable," said Szabo. "I do not fault anyone for what happened and I take complete responsibility for my misunderstanding about what was being asked.
"If someone were to say they're going to shoot a doctor for performing an abortion, there should be an outcry," he continued. "But I hope they would take my statement and formal apology and take it as I offered it."
Szabo said his history speaks for itself.
"Never in my 41 years have I uttered violent thoughts or intentions," he said. "I've always been a man of peace and have never condoned or promoted violence."
The thought of an officer charged with keeping peace walking into a clinic and shooting a doctor never occurred to him, he said. Rather, he explained this he assumed the question was being phrased in terms of encountering a doctor or staff member aggressively wielding a weapon. In that case, he said the defensive use of deadly force would be appropriate.
Though he stands firmly by his pro-life stance, Szabo said his greater concern is protecting the property of citizens such as farmers who are having their lands threatened.
As to whether the additional exposure of the last week will help or hurt his campaign, Szabo said only time will tell.
"I absolutely never intended to get this kind of exposure, and certainly not this type of reaction," he said. "The only silver lining in all of this is it's given people a look into the true nature of the authority of county sheriff, in that (he or she) is suppose to be a protector of citizens and property."
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