New Hampshire state Rep. Bill O’Brien has confirmed the first of what could be many meetings throughout the year between potential presidential candidates and his supporters in the Republican House majority and other conservative activists.
O’Brien said Thursday that Donald Trump has committed to attend a session in New Hampshire on either March 19 or 20, pending Trump’s final schedule for those days, at venue yet to be announced.
O’Brien said the meeting will probably be at the home of one of his supporters, a “relaxed” and informal setting that will allow for a meeting of some length and a meaningful conversation between Trump and the activists.
He said that he expects other potential, and eventually announced, candidates will be meeting in similar settings on a monthly basis throughout the year, leading up to next February’s primary.
O’Brien, a former New Hampshire House speaker, was elected by the House Republican caucus as its nominee for speaker in the current session last November. But he was defeated in the final race for speaker in December by Rep. Shawn Jasper, who drew about 80 percent of his support from the Democratic minority.
O’Brien has since appointed his own leadership team for the caucus, disregarding the leadership team appointed by Speaker Jasper. O’Brien said Thursday said he and his House Republican Majority Caucus still intend to set up their own near the State House shortly.
Contributions from the likely presidential candidates who meet with the activists are being solicited by House Republican Victory PAC, which O’Brien chairs. But O’Brien has said there is no “pay to appear,” or “pay to play,” requirement. For our Jan. 13 report on the O’Brien-led meetings with candidates, click here.
O’Brien on Jan. 24 traveled to Iowa for the “Freedom Summit” sponsored by Citizens United and U.S. Rep. Steve King. He spoke at the event, along with nearly a dozen potential presidential candidates and other top conservatives, including Sarah Palin. At the summit, O’Brien also spoke privately with the potential candidates about his New Hampshire group’s planned series of meetings.
It will be Trump’s first visit to the state since November, when he spoke at the New Hampshire Union Leader’s First Amendment Award dinner.