CONCORD — In what’s being called an effort by NHGOP chairman Jennifer Horn to broaden the party, former congressional candidate Dan Innis on Monday night was confirmed as the party’s finance chairman.
Innis replaces Jim Merrill, who left the post to become a senior adviser to likely presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio. After being nominated by Horn, he was approved by a unanimous vote of the NHGOP executive committee.
Innis was the first openly gay candidate to run for high office in New Hampshire when he was a candidate for the 1st District U.S. House seat last year. He was defeated by current Rep. Frank Guinta in the GOP primary.
Despite their tough campaign with harsh criticism of Guinta by Innia, Guinta supported the Innis appointment, as did Sen. Kelly Ayotte, the NHGOP said.
“Dan Innis is an accomplished small business owner and a proven leader in his community,” said Horn. “I am pleased that Dan has agreed to dedicate his time and considerable talents to helping Republicans raise the resources that we need to compete with the Democrats. I am proud to have Dan on my team and look forward to his contributions to the New Hampshire Republican State Committee.”
Innis said, “It is an honor to serve the NHGOP as the next Finance Chairman. It is an important role and critical to insuring that we have the resources we need to reach our goals over the coming years.
“The NHGOP, under Jennifer Horn’s leadership, has put together a strong team that will take the party to victory and help to elect fiscally responsible leadership at the local, state, and national level. I look forward to working with everyone in the NHGOP and I am pleased to have the opportunity to contribute.
Innis, the former dean of the UNH Peter T. Paul School of Business and Economics and co-founder and co-owner of The Hotel Portsmouth, becomes an officer of a NHGOP that has this plank in its platform:
“Recognize marriage as the legal and sacred union between one man and one woman as ordained by God, encouraged by the State, and traditional to humankind, and the core of the Family.”
Innis, who is married to Doug Palardy, said during the congressional campaign he believed that despite the pro-“traditional marriage” platforms of the NHGOP and the Republican National Committee, sentiments on the issue are changing within the Republican Party in general and that a person’s sexual orientation is no longer, as a practical matter, a major point of contention.
In a debate in July, Innis said there is “a movement away from that stance” in the GOP.
“It will take some time,” he said at the time. “This is something people have to get used to.….I would be real surprised if in five years we’re still talking about this.”
Sources said that Horn’s nomination of Innis for the position was primarily a result of his commitment to the party after he was defeated by Guinta and his expertise in financial matters. And there was a component to the nomination that related to an effort to broaden the party.
Innis also has contacts with major potential donors.
He was supported in his congressional bid by Peter T. Paul’s NH Priorities PAC and on a national level by millionaire Paul Singer’s American Unity Fund and American Unity PAC. New Hampshire’s Tyler Deaton during the weekend was named to the leadership role of the AUF and its PAC.
Deaton was formerly a partner with B-Fresh Consulting, which was the consulting firm for Innis’ campaign.