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Petty cash: Funding the NH GOP

December 06. 2012 1:02AM

The New Hampshire Republican Party suffers from many ailments, one of the most persistent being a chronic shortage of cash. To set the party on the right path going into 2013, the executive committee voted to require that every member of the Republican State Committee give $25 to the party. It was called a mandatory fee. And it sparked a rebellion.

Somehow, this modest participation fee (the U.S. average price for four movie tickets is $31.72) for committee members was portrayed as an assault on grassroots Republicans by the establishment. If that attitude persists, the party is in for a rough couple of years.

The New Hampshire Democratic Party is well-organized and solidly funded. Democrats pay the party chairman, whose only job is to work every day to elect Democrats and defeat Republicans. The New Hampshire Republican Party, by contrast, is poorly funded and relatively disorganized. Its unpaid chairman works to elect Republicans and defeat Democrats whenever he or she can find the time to do so after earning a living doing something else. The advantages to the Democratic Party from such an arrangement are enormous.

According to former GOP Chairman Steve Duprey, not even half of New Hampshire's 500-member Republican State Committee regularly donates money to the party. Committee members are not to provide the primary source of party revenue, obviously, but if they won't give, why should others?

"Unless we establish our own financial base and have everybody do the unpleasant task, we're not going to be successful," Duprey told this newspaper this week. That is undeniably true.

New Hampshire benefits from having two robust, competitive political parties. Republicans will hand the Democrats a permanent advantage if they continue to resist bringing party finances and organization into the 21st century.

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