Kimball vows to stay on as NHGOP Chair

NH Republican Party Chairman Jack Kimball announced this morning that he will not be stepping down from his post, despite the sharp requests of many high-profile New Hampshire Republicans, including the three Republican member of New Hampshire’s Congressional Delegation and the NH House Speaker and Senate President. In a Concord press conference, Kimball addressed the calls to resign as well as concerns regarding fundraising, special elections losses, and internal staff upheaval.

Immediately prior to the press conference, it became public that Kimball had received an official letter signed by Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Reps. Frank Guinta and Charlie Bass notifying him that a vote for his removal will take place at the upcoming September 1st Executive Committee meeting. The letter listed a total of 22 voting members that will vote to remove Kimball as Chairman; only 19 votes are needed.

Kimball’s remarks:

“I’m a Tea Partier, and I am the first Tea Partier to be elected Chairman of the Republican Party in the nation.

While I am a Tea Partier, I’m also a decades-long Reagan Republican and I am happy to see the new energy, especially the young people, being attracted to our message at this critical time in history.

The Republican Party is growing, because Tea Partiers are attracted to the Republican message of small government and respect for the free market and individual liberty. The State House is full of freshman Republicans. For that matter, so is the State Senate. Growing pains and conflict are bound to occur. But it is a shame to see the false accusations and the infighting on such a spectacular scale.

Regardless of these short-term difficulties, the struggle between the “Tea Party” and the “Establishment” must be resolved positively so our party will be stronger. I have pledged to unify and be the bridge between the longtime Republicans and the newer liberty-minded Republicans. As we have watched the country head into the wrong direction and dive into economic decline, the liberty movement will only grow stronger and increase in size. Those who seek to remove me from my duly elected position must recognize that I represent a movement – a political moment – much larger than myself. I plead with them not to pick this fight. It will only damage the party and cause unnecessary division.

One of the major goals of my Chairmanship is to help this party move into the future, but sadly there are some who are still stuck in the past.

I want to take a moment to address my supporters, some of whom have been exceptionally passionate in coming to my defense. I ask them to listen to me and to pledge themselves to joining this debate in a positive way. I won’t tolerate name-calling or personal attacks or lies.

And now, I’m going to address directly some of the criticisms and accusations that have been levied against me.

First, I have been called a poor fundraiser. In my defense, I am going to provide you with some basic figures from the Federal Election Commission regarding the finances of the New Hampshire GOP.

In the first half of 2011, the party has raised $191,392.20 in total federal receipts, not including transfers from affiliated party committees.

Just seven months into my tenure, (minus party transfers) I have had the 2nd best FIRST TWO fundraising quarters in the last 8 years and even surpassed the FIRST TWO Quarters in 2010 in a federal election year.

I am frequently compared to Governor Sununu, and I readily admit my Rolodex is nothing like his. But as you can see, our fundraising hasn’t been as bleak as has been suggested.

Our fundraising efforts are improving with assistance from our new Finance Chairman Bill Binnie and my own self-improvement and gained experience. Mr. Binnie stepped up to aid the party as a true patriot. Our party should welcome his involvement and his support. In fact, our largest fundraiser of the year is scheduled for this September with our special guest, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell.

Everyone has been paid, and we are retiring debts leftover from the past few years that totaled over $100,000 – serious debts that haven’t been addressed. One of my commitments is to leave this party debt-free when my service is complete. As a result, our cash-on-hand is a bit lower right now as we clear out these old debts, most of which are related to the phone-jamming scandal legal fees and penalties in 2004 as well as an expensive audit required due to inaccurate Federal Election Commission filings in 2007 and 2008.

Secondly, I want to address the recent losses in special elections, which have been unfortunate. I have come to believe that these losses are to be expected. We have such super-majorities in both chambers that all the incentives to win are aligned against us. Nevertheless, we have fought hard, expended resources, and we will continue to do so. But we can’t change the simple fact that these minor victories mean much more to the Democrat base, and they are going all out to win. I encourage our activists and supporters across the state to work even harder, and I encourage our rank-and-file voters of the importance of voting, even in dog days of summer when they may not see the immediate value.

I would also note that one major problem in our political efforts has been corrected with the termination of our previous Executive Director. It is important that as Chairman, I have a dynamic, loyal, and experienced manager working full-time at the party headquarters. It’s not uncommon to see turnover at the party, and happily, our organization is moving forward and accepting resumes to fill that position as quickly as possible, along with a new position we are creating for Political Director. We have created a search committee made up of well-respected long time Republican leaders and I’m confident their efforts will produce some excellent new and talented individuals to join our staff.

Finally, I want to address the issue of this petition for the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire. All I can do is to repeat what I have already said, which is that it was a momentary mistake that I corrected immediately. Some Democrats took a picture of me with a clipboard, and it’s a shame to see so many good Republicans engaging in this kind of “gotcha” politics. I believe in our democracy, and ballot access and my initial reaction was to say, “the more the merrier.” That’s not a terribly misguided thing to do, or a reason to question my loyalty to the Republican Party, and certainly not grounds for removal.

Now, there have been a lot of mistruths regarding my relationship with Bill O’Brien and the federal delegation. It’s been widely reported that the Speaker, along with Jennifer Horn, visited me and asked me to resign. At that same meeting, it was revealed to me that the RGA was prepared to cut a check for $100,000 to the NHGOP should I step down, and the federal delegation would contribute funds to the New Hampshire Republican Party should I resign as well. I won’t stand for that kind of deal-making – neither will the voters – and they deserve to know the truth. I never spoke of this private meeting to the media; I only confirmed the report when others let the story out. To this moment, none of our federal legislators have spoken to me on this matter, and I have had no communication directly with the RGA.

All that being said, I am defending the First in the Nation primary, I am facilitating a neutral primary. I am bringing new blood to our organization and I am committed to moving forward as the bridge between the past and the future of the Republican Party.”

Author: Shawn Millerick

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