By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN
BELMONT — Leery of the impact of Donald Trump's candidacy on the remainder of the Republican ticket, Jennifer Horn, chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party, told Belknap County Republicans this week that the state party will direct its resources to maintaining its majorities in the New Hampshire Legislature and capturing the governorship.
Referring to the top of the GOP ticket, Horn said "It's going to impact us." She noted that a poll taken to measure the effect of the presidential candidacy of either Trump or Sen. Ted Cruz on races further down the ballot indicated that "These are challenges for us to overcome." In particular, Horn stressed that "We don't win any race anywhere in the state unless independents vote with us."
Horn remarked that the contest for the Republican presidential nomination "has been a destructive process." Replying to a direct question, she acknowledged that the dissension and turmoil in GOP ranks has taken a toll on fundraising. "That has become a hurdle," she said.
Horn assured her listeners that all donations to the New Hampshire GOP will be applied to the governor's race as well as contests for the New Hampshire Senate and House and Representatives. She said that the Republican National Committee will fund the races at the top of the ticket, including Kelly Ayotte's bid to hold her seat in the United States Senate against the challenge of Gov. Maggie Hassan.
"We're in it to win it," Horn said of the races for power in the State House.
Horn has not disguised her misgivings about Trump. When he mulled a run for president in 2011 she wrote prophetically in the New Hampshire Union Leader "Donald Trump is not a credible candidate for president. If the GOP allows him to hijack the primary process then they deserve exactly what they get." Last November, as the New Hampshire primary approached, she mistakenly forecast that "Shallow campaigns that depend on bombast and divisive rhetoric do not succeed in New Hampshire." When Trump spoke of barring Muslims from the country, Horn countered "It is un-Republican. It is unconstitutional. It is un-American." And when he said women who have abortions should be punished, she said that "A nominee who cannot speak to women cannot win."
Horn's remarks prompted calls for her resignation. But, far from resigning, earlier this month tried to strike again. Although Trump's victory in the New Hampshire primary earned him 11 of the 23 seats in the state's delegation to the Republican National Convention, she recommended a slate of delegates for the committees at the convention without a Trump supporter among them. Under pressure from Trump's delegates, she retreated and Corey Lewandowski, the manager of Trump's campaign, was chosen chairman of the delegation.
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