New Hampshire’s Tea Party and tea leaves

by
January 24, 2011

By Felicia Sonmez, The Washington Post

In the race to be the party’s next chairman, Jack Kimball, a businessman with comparatively little political experience, edged out Juliana Bergeron, who had the backing of most of the state’s influential Republicans.

“We are in a war and we are going to win it,” Kimball said at the party’s annual gathering in Derry. “We are going to pull ourselves from the brink. We are going after the Democrats the whole time.”

The outgoing chairman, former governor John H. Sununu, had urged Republicans to back Bergeron. “Incumbent on you is the responsibility – not just of keeping this party together – but because every four years, the world watches because we are the most significant component in picking the president,” he said.

“We as a party need to provide an environment that is comfortable for all candidates to come and participate,” Sununu said. “The worst thing for New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary is for people to feel this is not a place where they want to participate.”

Kimball’s win was a boon for New Hampshire’s tea party activists after several of their candidates had fallen short in recent statewide races. Last year, in his first bid for public office, Kimball placed a distant second in the Republican gubernatorial primary. Another tea party favorite, Ovide Lamontagne, came just shy of winning in the GOP primary for the seat of former senator Judd Gregg (R).

James Pindell, the political director of Manchester’s WMUR-TV, called Kimball’s election “highly symbolic.”

“For the last 30 years, there have been two parties in New Hampshire: the Greggs and the Sununus,” Pindell said, referring to two of the dynasties in state Republican politics. Sununu is the father of former senator John E. Sununu (R), while Gregg, who retired this month, is the son of former governor Hugh Gregg (R).

Kimball, meanwhile, was uninvolved in politics until the last presidential election.

To read more, visit: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/22/AR2011012204005.html

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