The race for Chairman of the New Hampshire Republican State Committee is a dead heat between Cheshire County GOP Chair Juliana Bergeron and tea party honcho Jack Kimball, an analysis by NH Journal shows.
Bergeron has 58 votes committed to her at this time. Kimball has 57.
The analysis includes publicly announced endorsements plus the results of NH Journal’s exclusive phone canvass of committee members. The phone canvass was conducted on Tuesday, January 4th.
Despite the closeness of the tally, the phone canvass contains one bit of potentially troubling news for Bergeron. A significant majority of her support has already been announced publicly.
Our phone canvass shows a good deal of unannounced support for Kimball among members of the committee. Of the 73 Republican State Committee members who responded to our canvass and who said they have decided whom they support, 49 say they back Kimball. Only 24 say they back Bergeron.
There are 493 total voters on the committee, so there remain more than enough undecided voters to change the tide. It is common practice for candidates to strategically release endorsements. Both Kimball and Bergeron may have backers who are not yet ready to announce their support publicly.
NH Journal will continue to canvass Republican State Committee members in the coming weeks. The next chairman will be chosen on January 22.
We also asked what committee members want the next chairman to focus most on. Forty-four percent said strengthening the party’s grassroots organization. Twenty-two percent said fundraising. Thirteen percent said defending New Hampshire first-in-the-nation primary. Ten percent said candidate recruitment and another ten percent said the next chair should lobby the legislature to govern like they campaigned.