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John DiStaso's Granite Status: Lamontagne, Smith gearing up with grassroots committee, supporters

New Hampshire Union Leader

January 18. 2012 10:24PM

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 22, UPDATE: OVIDE'S FINANCE COMMITTEE. Republican candidate for governor Ovide Lamontagne will shortly announce the initial 60 members of his Finance Steering Committee, the Granite Status has learned.

Kevin Smith, one of Lamontagne's like opponents in a GOP gubernatorial primary, earlier Wednesday said his initial list of 70 public supporters will be officially released tomorrow. See our report below for a preview of that list.

Lamontagne, who has already announed a broad steering committee, now has a finance committee that includes Nashua developer and former state GOP chairman John Stabile, who said he has been 'impressed at the campaign's level of fund-raising organization.'

Other key players on the list include engineer and long-time GOP fund-raiser Robert Cruess of Amherst, Jackie Eastwood of Durham, who chaired Mitt Romney's 2008 and 2012 New Hampshire finance committee; real estate industry leader Tom Farrelly and businessman Bill Grenier, both of Bedford, attorney David Horan of Manchester, who was candidate for governor John Stephen's campaign treasurer in 2010; former New Hampshire Commissioner of Environmental Services Mike Nolin, construction executive Rob Prunier of Hollis, Concord attorney Jim Steiner and Paul Young, former state GOP executive director and top strategist to several presidential campaigns.

The campaign has hired Stefanie Webb, a recent Plymouth State University graduate and former student body president, as a finance staffer.

For the full list of those to be announced as members of Lamontagne's finance committee, see

(Earlier Granite Status reports follow.)

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 22, UPDATE: 70 FOR SMITH. Republican Kevin Smith on Thursday will officially release his first group of public supporters in his bid for the GOP nomination for governor.

Smith, who will face attorney and activist Ovide Lamontagne and, most likely, businessman Steve Kenda, in a gubernatorial primary in September, has an "initial list" of 70 backers, with more to come, we're told.

Key players on the list include Paul Chevalier of Hudson, a long-time GOP activist and past State Commander for the New Hampshire Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). He has chaired state veterans coalitions for GOP presidential hopefuls George W. Bush, John McCain and Jon Huntsman.

Also among Smith's supporters are Tom Mullen of Campton, owner of the Owl's Nest Resort, Luke Freudenberg of Wolfeboro, the former Carroll County Republican Committee Chairman; John Labombard of Dalton, who initially backed Lamontagne and is known for driving his distinctive bus for George W. Bush during the 2000 presidential campaign; Amherst GOP vice chairman Bill Modis, long-time Manchester activist Marti Steiner Jones, retired police chief Chip Sawyer of New Hampton, Portsmouth business owner Brian Semprini and former Londondonderry Town Councilor Marty Bove.

Also on the list are four state House members: Reps. Duffy Daugherty of Colebrook, Robert Greenmore of Meredith, Dave Lundgren of Londonderry and Todd Smith of Hooksett.

The full list can be viewed at the Kevin Smith for Governor Facebook wall.

(Earlier Granite Status reports follow.)

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 22, UPDATE: LEADERSHIP ROLE. Four years ago, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen was focusing on her own election during the general election campaign. In this election, she will have a leadership role in President Barack Obama's reelection campaign.

Obama for America says Shaheen has been named one of 35 national campaign co-chairs. She is among only three sitting U.S. senators in the group, along with Michael Bennet of Colorado and Dick Durbin of Illinois.

The news comes on the eve of Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Manchester on Thursday. During the campaign stop at the New Hampshire Institute of Art, Biden is expected to rally supporters and talk about jobs and the economy.

In an interview, Shaheen said Obama 'is working hard to ensure that we restore a middle class in this country. It has been the foundation of America.

'His interest in education and energy and the economy is very important as we put people back to work,' Shaheen said. 'We're beginning to see some progress, but there is a lot more work to be done.

'His efforts to help with the auto industry have been critical,' Shaheen continued. 'Focus on the economic agenda has been important for us to continue.

Shaheen said the presidential general election will be 'hard-fought' nationally and in New Hampshire, 'and the President has indicated he's going to work very hard to earn the country's support again. Having Joe Biden here on Thursday is an indication that they are taking New Hampshire very seriously.'

Shaheen said the national co-chairmanship is an 'advisory role' and her specific duties have not yet been determined.

According to the Obama campaign, the national co-chairs will serve as 'ambassadors for the President helping to engage and mobilize voters across the country.'

They will also advise the campaign on key issues, host campaign events and lead organizing efforts in all 50 states.

For the full list of all the co-chairs and their biographies, visit

The Obama campaign in New Hampshire will soon roll out its state leadership team.

(Earlier Granite Status reports follow.)

TUESDAY, FEB. 21, UPDATE: BIDEN HEADING TO MANCHESTER. The state's largest city will be the site of Vice President Joe Biden's planned campaign visit to New Hampshire on Thursday.

The Granite Status has learned that Biden will rally supporters and talk about jobs and the economy at an afternoon event at the New Hampshire Institute of Art in Manchester.

A campaign official said the event is open to the public. Those interested in attending should RSVP at

The Obama reelection campaign announced last week that Biden would be visiting New Hampshire. The visit comes as the Obama reelection campaign is gearing up its activities in the state with an eye toward the November general election.

Biden last visited New Hampshire in late January on an official visit, touring manufacturers in Rochester and Albany and speaking about jobs.

Also on Thursday, Biden plans campaign events in Boston and Providence.

(Earlier Granite Status reports follow.)

THURSDAY, FEB. 16 UPDATE: PROFILE STRATEGY JOINS SMITH. Republican candidate for governor Kevin Smith announced Thursday he has hired a leading trio of state political strategists to advise his campaign.

Helping Smith's effort will be James and Michael Sununu and Jamie Burnett, who formed Profile Strategy Group of Concord in 2009.

Smith said in a press release, 'I couldn't ask for a better team of strategists for my campaign.'

Burnett called Smith 'a smart and convincing candidate' who is 'focused on improving New Hampshire's fiscal condition and economic environment to attract new businesses and to create good-paying, sustainable jobs for the 21st Century.'

He said Smith is running 'a very competitive campaign.'

The Sununus and Burnett have been involved in many GOP organizations and campaigns, including the New Hampshire Republican State Committee, the New Hampshire House Republican Victory PAC, John Robitaille's campaign for Rhode Island Governor in 2010, Rich Ashooh's campaign for the U.S. House 1st District seat in New Hampshire in 2010, Chris Sununu's executive council campaign in 2010, John E. Sununu's campaigns for the U.S. Senate in 2002 and 2008 and for the U.S. House in 1996, 1998 and 2000, Mitt Romney's presidential campaign in 2008, George W. Bush's New Hampshire reelection campaign in 2004, the National Republican Congressional Committee from 1991 to 1996, Steve Forbes' presidential campaign in 1996 and Steve Merrill's campaign for governor in 1992.

THURSDAY, FEB. 16, UPDATE: JOINING THE EFFORT. Eight Republicans have joined Standing Up for New Hampshire Families, the group working against efforts to repeal the state's same-sex marriage law.

The group announced Thursday that the new members of its leadership council are Windham attorney and GOP activist Travis Blais, Eduardo J. Lopez-Reyes of Portsmouth, national vice chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus, Portsmouth business owner Marie A. Lopez-Reyes, Frank McDougall of Hanover, vice president of government relations at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Dr. Jim Squires of Hollis, a former state senator and founder of the Endowment for Health, Sarah Crawford Stewart, a veteran Republican activist who headed Jon Huntsman's presidential campaign in New Hampshire, was deputy director of John McCain's state campaign in 2008 and currently heads B-fresh Consulting, her husband Christopher Stewart, also of B-Fresh Consulting, and Mike Whitney of Manchester a retired banking executive and business consultant.

Republicans already on the group's leadership council include Irena Goddard, chair of the Hopkinton GOP Committee, former Executive Councilor and Republican National Committeewoman Ruth Griffin, long time political consultant, state official and business executive J. Bonnie Newman, Manchester businessman Sean Owen and former New Hampshire House Majority Leader and Deputy Speaker Kimon Zachos.

(Earlier Granite Status reports follow.)

FRIDAY, JAN. 20, UPDATE: ADD DeBLOIS TO THE LIST. State Sen. Tom DeBlois, R-Manchester, has confirmed our earlier report today that he is interested in running for the Executive Council seat being vacated by the retiring Raymond Wieczorek.

'I am looking at it and talking with my family and others in the community about it. I'm exploring the possibility and in the not-too-distant future, I will have a press conference and announce my decision,' DeBlois said.

Wieczorek, who is 83, announced today that after more than five terms on the Executive Council from District 4 and after serving five terms as Manchester's mayor, he will retire when his current term concludes at the end of the year. (See our initial report below).

DeBlois called Wieczorek 'a great man, an icon, a personal friend, a mentor, an advisor and a gentleman.'

A freshman senator, DeBlois said he is attracted to the council because 'I like the idea of management regarding state affairs, the appointment of department heads and the consideration of judges and dealing with state contractors and vendors.'

The council's job includes approval or rejection of the governor's nominees as judges and department heads, and approval or rejection of the contracts the state enters into with private vendors.

As reported below, also expressing interest in running for the seat today were Democratic former Hillsborough County Treasurer Chris Pappas and Republican former state Sen. Robert Clegg.

Clegg did tell the Granite Status, however, that if DeBlois runs for the seat, he would most likely not run against him.

State Democratic Chairman Raymond Buckley said that Manchester school board member and former alderman Donna Soucy may be recruited to run for DeBlois' Senate seat if he vacates it.

(Earlier updates and the full Jan. 19 Granite Status follow.)

FRIDAY, JAN. 20, UPDATE: PAPPAS, CLEGG CONSIDER COUNCIL BID. Restaurant owner and former Hillsborough County Treasurer Chris Pappas, a well-known Democrat, told the Granite Status today that he will seriously look at running for the District 4 Executive Council seat now that Republican Raymond Wieczorek is retiring.

Republican former state Sen. Bob Clegg of Hudson also said he is interested in looking at the post, provided his town remains in District 4 as a result of redistricting.

Wieczorek announced earlier today that after more than five terms on the council and following five terms as Manchester's mayor, he will retire from politics when he term ends at the end of the year.

Wieczorek was first elected to the council in a March 2002 special election after Tom Colantuono resigned to become the U.S. Attorney for New Hampshire.

Wieczorek was then elected to full terms in November 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010. He served as Mayor of Manchester for five terms in the 1990s before being defeated by Bob Baines in 1999.

As mayor, Wieczorek was a driving force behind the construction and approval of the Verizon Wireless Arena, the expansion of the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport and the beginning of the revitalization of Elm Street and the historic Manchester Millyard.

The new access road to the airport from the F.E. Everett Turnpike was dedicated as Raymond Wieczorek Drive in November.

As a councilor, Wieczorek took the lead in efforts to deal with alleged mismanagement and the use of excessive force at the Sununu Youth Services Center.

In his private life, Wieczorek has owned his insurance agency, first RJW Insurance and then Wieczorek Insurance, in Manchester since 1964.

Pappas, owner of the Puritan Back Room restaurant, a former state representative and former Manchester City Democratic Committee chairman, said Wieczorek is a regular customer of the restaurant, 'and we have had some heated discussions.

'This is something I do want to take a look at in the coming weeks,' Pappas said. 'I do have interest in state government and as we've seen this past year since the 2010 election, the role of the Executive Council is quite important in dealing with state contracts.'

Pappas said the district is a tough one for Democrats. No Democrat has won the seat since Jim Normand in 1996.

But Pappas said that under the right circumstances and right political climate, the seat could return to Democratic hands.

Clegg, a former state Senate Majority Leader, said he will consider it but 'the big question' is whether Hudson will remain in the district.

'I've always said that I'm not done,' Clegg said. 'I'd certainly be looking at it but I spent 14 years in Concord and am all for giving someone else a chance if someone steps up." He said that if DeBlois runs for the seat, he would most likely defer to him and not run against him.

Another Republican name that has surfaced as a possible interested successor to Wieczorek is that of state Sen. Tom DeBlois of Manchester.

Democratic Gov. John Lynch praised Wieczorek's "deep commitment to serving the people of the City of Manchester and the surrounding area, and the entire State of New Hampshire. Ray loves New Hampshire and its people, and he always puts the interests of the people he serves first."

State Democratic Party Chairman Raymond Buckley added, "Ray Wieczorek has a lengthy record of civic engagement and dedication as an elected official. Without question the transformation of the Manchester Airport was due in part because of his determination. We wish him and his family well in the years to come."

(Earlier updates and the full Jan. 19 Granite Status follow.)

THURSDAY, JAN. 19, UPDATE: PHYLLIS WON'T RUN . Phyllis Woods, a well-respected long-time Republican activist, has decided not to seek a second full, four-year term as Republican National Committeewoman.

'I have enjoyed it to the fullest. I did my absolute best and I have no regrets,' Woods told the Granite Status. 'I'm proud of my service. I have not missed a single meeting.'

Woods, a former state representative from Dover, was elected to the RNC in October, 2007, filing the unexpired term of Nancy Merrill, who had resigned to work with John McCain's presidential campaign. Woods was then elected to a full term in April 2008.

Woods said she expects a contested race for her successor leading up a scheduled April 14 vote by the Republican State Committee. She said she will serve her full term through Sept. 1.

Former Cheshire County GOP Chair Juliana Bergeron has announced that she will be a candidate for the post and the Granite Status first reported Thursday morning that New Hampshire House Deputy Speaker Pam Tucker said she would seriously consider running, but only if Woods did not. She said she would not run against Woods.

After Woods' announcement, Tucker said she intends to make a decision by the end of the weekend, after speaking with members of her family and with Woods.

Current Republican National Committeeman Steve Duprey has announced he intends to seek a full term in that post at the April 14 meeting. He was elected to the position a year ago to fill the unexpired term of Sean Mahoney, who had resigned shortly before running for the U.S. House.

Woods, who serves on the RNC rules and ethics committees and is involved in several other RNC boards and panels, said, 'It was never my intention to hold onto this position' for nine years, 'and I'm not the type of person who said, 'I'll take it but if I get tired of it, I'll quit.' I intend to serve the full term until Sept. 1.

'Five years is a good commitment, but it's hard for me. I'm going to hate to let it go,' she said. 'But nobody owns this seat. It does not belong to me.'

Woods said she has heard from several other women, besides Tucker and Bergeron, who are considering running for the post.

State GOP Chairman Wayne MacDonald called Woods a 'hard-working, principled and dedicated leader,' while Duprey said Woods has played 'a key role in representing our interests and our primary at the RNC.'

Woods Thursday afternoon sent the following letter to members of the Republican State Committee:

"I'm writing today to let you know that I will not seek another term as National Committeewoman. I will, of course, continue to be active in this role for the remainder of my term which ends on September 1st. Although I originally intended to only serve these five years, at the urging of others I carefully considered another run. While I have enjoyed serving as your representative on the Republican National Committee, in the end I decided to give someone else an opportunity to serve in this position.

"It has been a pleasure to get to know volunteers, committee members, and grassroots activists throughout the state. We have so many dedicated party members who work tirelessly to elect and support our Republican candidates and I have been proud to bring that message back to the RNC.

"We continue to enjoy the special honor of holding the first in the nation primary; a process that allows our voters the exclusive benefit of meeting and vetting our candidates on a personal level as they engage in the retail politics that has served our candidates and our country so well. I will continue my work to preserve our primary as a member of the RNC Rules Committee until the end of my term.

"I stand in awe and admiration of your passion and dedication as activists, campaign workers, and especially as elected representatives. In greater numbers than any other state, New Hampshire people work on a volunteer basis, often at great personal sacrifice. Our citizens owe you all a debt of gratitude.

"It has truly been an honor to represent you and our beautiful state on the national level. I have forged deep friendships and alliances with the many outstanding men and women who serve on the RNC.

"I've appreciated the support and encouragement you've given me throughout my tenure as Committeewoman. Please accept my sincere thanks for allowing me to serve you in this capacity; it has been my great privilege. I look forward to seeing you at our State Committee meeting on April 14th where I can thank you in person."

( The full Jan. 19 Granite Status follows.)

THURSDAY, JAN. 19: GEARING UP FOR GOVERNOR. With the presidential primary history, New Hampshire politics now turns local, with the top race being the first open race for governor since 2002.

Announced Democratic candidate for governor and former state Sen. Maggie Hassan on Wednesday announced a full team of campaign staff and advisers, to be managed by veteran operative Matt Burgess.

The Nashua native most recently worked for four years with EMILY's List and previously with the Service Employees International Union.

Burgess has also worked on several political campaigns dating back to 2000, when he was an assistant to the state directors of Bill Bradley's New Hampshire presidential campaign.

Since then he has been communications director for Betty Castor for U.S. Senate in Florida, Matt Brown for U.S. Senate in Rhode Island, Jill LongThompson for Congress in Indiana and Lynn Rivers for Congress in Michigan. He was deputy press secretary for Gov. Mike Easley's campaign in North Carolina in 2000 and also in 2000, worked for Martha Fuller Clark's New Hampshire congressional campaign.

Hassan also announced she has hired Pamela Danielson as finance director. Danielson raised funds for U.S. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer and previously was the finance director for Gary Trauner for Congress in Wyoming, Glenn Nye for Congress in Virginia, and was deputy finance director for Jim Davis for governor in Florida. She also worked for John Edwards' presidential campaign in 2007 and 2008 in Iowa.

Hassan has hired as her campaign political director Wyatt Fore, who was director of the Democratic House Caucus political action committee, deputy field director at the state Democratic Party and political director for the pro-same-sex marriage group Standing Up For New Hampshire Families.

Overseeing paid media will be Joe Slade White, who has worked with hundreds of Democratic campaigns, including those of Vice President Joe Biden, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

Polling will be handled by Al Quinlan, president of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, a well-known Democratic pollster who has worked in New Hampshire with Gov. John Lynch and U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.

The campaign previously announced Nick Clemons and Theo Yedinsky as senior advisers.

Hassan, of Exeter, is expected to be in a Democratic primary against her former state Senate colleague, Jackie Cilley of Barrington, who has not officially announced her candidacy but has set up an campaign committee and, like Hassan, has been speaking to groups statewide.

Former Attorney General Phil McLaughlin and former state securities bureau chief Mark Connolly are viewed as potential Democratic candidates.

On the Republican side, former Cornerstone Action Executive Director Kevin Smith is reading positive signs in a Public Policy Polling survey, first reported by our State House Reporter Garry Rayno on Sunday, that he received 12 percent of the GOP vote against the far better-known Ovide Lamontagne and 11 percent in a potential three-way primary against Lamontagne and possible candidate Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas.

'It's a very encouraging sign,' said Smith, who is well-known at the State House and in Republican activist circles, but not by the general public because, unlike the other two, he has never run for office before.

He said the poll showed him doing well among moderates and independents, as well as the conservative base.

'That's because I've been offering specific details on what I'd do to grow jobs and get the economy humming,' Smith said. 'It's going to take more than the typical conservative rhetoric and sound bites in this election and I've been offering more.'

Smith said he will soon release a list of supporters and intends to hire his first staffer by the end of the month.

Lamontagne, who has already released information about a steering committee, comprising about 300 names, and received 40 percent support versus Smith (and 36 percent versus Gatsas and Smith) in the PPP poll, was pleased by a big turnout for a campaign reception in Nashua Saturday, four days after the presidential primary and just before the start of the Patriots playoff game.

The event was hosted by Mike and Mar-Mar Rogers. Featured speakers included Jack Kimball, Jeff Chidester, and Sandra Ziehm.

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STEVE'S IN. Mitt Romney's easy 'home-state' victory in the first-in-the-nation primary probably means the primary will come under fire (again) from national Republicans later this year.

And long-time primary defender, state Republican National Committeeman Steve Duprey, told the Granite Status that he intends to seek a full, four-year term in the post to continue to help defend the New Hampshire Primary.

The Republican State Committee is scheduled to elect the party's national committeeman and national committeewoman at a meeting April 14.

Those elected will begin their terms Sept. 1, after the Republican National Convention.

Duprey, a former state party chairman and senior adviser to John McCain in the 2008 presidential primary and general election campaigns, was elected to the RNC post a year ago to fill the unexpired term of Sean Mahoney, who resigned shortly before running for the U.S. House.

'The debate over the 2016 primary schedule will start this summer and conclude at the Aug. 28-30 meeting at the convention in Tampa,' Duprey wrote us in an email Tuesday.

'I think that my seniority and experience on the RNC will be helpful in protecting our primary and I would like to continue to carry out that role,' Duprey wrote.

'I also have worked to support our fund-raising efforts and to ensure the RNC is fully engaged financially and at the campaign level this fall as we protect our legislative majorities, elect a Republican governor and a Republican President.'

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WILL PHYLLIS RUN? Long-time Republican National Committeewoman Phyllis Woods told the state Republican executive committee Monday night that she'll decide within the next several days whether to run for a second full term in the post.

Keene businesswoman and former Cheshire County Republican Chair Juliana Bergeron announced during the weekend that she will run for the seat regardless of what Woods does.

Woods was elected to the RNC in October 2007, filling the unexpired term of Nancy Merrill, who resigned to work with the McCain for President campaign. Woods was then elected to a full, four-year term in April 2008.

Bergeron, who lost to Jack Kimball in a bid for state party chair a year ago, said in a statement she is running for the RNC post 'to be a strong and vocal advocate for our first-in-the-nation primary tradition' and the party's platform and candidates.

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NO CONFLICT. Bergeron told the Status Tuesday she sees no conflict in running for the RNC while clearly taking sides in the upcoming Republican gubernatorial primary.

Bergeron in November signed on to chair Kevin Smith's political action committee.

Bergeron noted that if she is elected to the RNC she would not begin serving until Sept. 1, just 10 days before the Sept. 11 primary.

After that, she said, she would work on behalf of whomever becomes the nominee of the party.

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TUCKER MAY RUN. Deputy House speaker Pam Tucker told the Status Wednesday that she is considering running for the Republican National Committeewoman post, but would not run against Woods.

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OBAMA CAMP RAMPS UP. The state's political parties and the Obama campaign are looking to build up finances, staffing and grassroots support for what's expected to be a general election battleground.

Organizing for America, the grassroots arm of President Barack Obama's reelection campaign, issued a public memorandum Tuesday saying its organization in the state is growing.

Holly Shulman has moved from the New Hampshire Democratic Party to the campaign as state communications director, working in the campaign's Manchester office on Maple Street.

Shulman said that while the Republicans were battling in the primary, the Obama campaign employed 20 full-time staffers.

She said that in the week since the primary, five more full-time staffers, including Shulman, and field organizers, have been added.

The Obama campaign also now has a total of seven offices open in New Hampshire. The original three offices in Manchester, Concord and Portsmouth have been joined in the past week by offices in Nashua, Keene, Dover and Lebanon, Shulman said.

The memo, by Obama state general election director Peter Kavanaugh, says the campaign has held 'more than 600 grassroots events since April.'

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GETTING BETTER? State Republicans say their financial situation is improving.

A memo sent by the party to the media Tuesday said a financial update was provided to the state party executive committee Monday night.

The committee was told that since the summer, more than half of $128,000 in long-term debt has been paid.

The party says it brought in $65,000 in December, with about half from the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee. It says it raised about $35,000 on its own, including a substantial amount from a direct mail piece.

The previous best fund-raising month in 2011 was $57,219 raised last January, John H. Sununu's final month as chairman, and its second-best month in 2011 was about $56,000, raised in March when Kimball was chairman.

The best month of the second half of the year was $24,879 raised in July.

The party was scheduled to hold a fund-raiser last night at the Barley House in Concord and also plans one for Jan. 23 in Washington, to be hosted by Sen. Kelly Ayotte and U.S. Reps. Frank Guinta and Charlie Bass, along with former Ambassador Gerald Carmen, former U.S. Rep. Bill Zeliff, Bergeron, Duprey and veteran activists Brad Card, Jamie Burnett, Craig Stevens, Michael Hamilton, and Jim Foley.

The party still has two full-time staffers, executive director Tory Mazzola and field director Jacob Avery, but the RNC is currently mapping out its resources for the coming general election. New Hampshire, as a swing state in the general presidential election and with two targeted Republican-held U.S. House seats, should figure prominently in the deployment of resources by both national parties.

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THE GOP DELEGATES. State Republicans can send only 12 delegates to the Republican National Committee in Tampa this summer, and Romney, by finishing first with 39 percent of the vote, will get at least seven of them.

Second-place finisher Ron Paul receives three delegates and Jon Huntsman receives two.

Huntsman, of course, dropped out of the race on Monday and endorsed Romney, but his delegates will be free to cast their convention votes for him, anyway, or for Romney or Ron Paul.

The state Republican Party would normally be entitled to 23 delegates, but because the primary was held earlier than allowed by a Republican National Committee rules, the state GOP is being punished by losing nearly half its delegation.

Republican candidates must receive at least 10 percent of the vote to be awarded delegates. Since Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum fell just short of that mark, they were not awarded any delegates.

Each candidate submitted full slates of delegates and alternates to the Secretary of State's office last year. It will now be up to each of the three campaigns awarded delegates to narrow their lists and decide who will go to the convention.

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THE DEMOCRATIC DELEGATES. The state Democratic Party, meanwhile, will send 35 delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte this summer to support Obama's renomination.

The Democratic National Committee recently granted the state party a waiver from the DNC rule that required the primary to be held no earlier than the beginning of February, allowing a full delegation to attend.

The state party last Saturday began its selection process by electing 18 delegates at separate caucuses in the 1st and 2nd Congressional Districts - specifically in Manchester and Concord.

The 1st District delegates are Donna Soucy, Chris Pappas, Garth Corriveau and Richard Komi, all of Manchester; Lenore Patton of Hampton; Mike Rollo of Rollinsford; Mariann White of Orford; Dorothy Solomon of Albany; and Carol Croteau of Kingston.

The 2nd District delegates are Erin Feltes, former U.S. Rep. Paul Hodes and former state party chair Ned Helms, all of Concord; Nan Stearns of Amherst; Patricia Lee of Hanover; Claire Helfman of Hollis; Alejandro Urrutia of Nashua; Ricardo Rodriguez of Hopkinton; and Trevor Chandler of Laconia.

Separately, seven super-delegates will make the trip: Chairman Ray Buckley, first vice chair Martha Fuller Clark, Democratic National Committee members Kathy Sullivan and Peter Burling, DNC member-at-large Joanne Dowdell, Lynch and Shaheen.

Under state party rules, the 18 elected delegates and seven super-delegates will choose 10 more delegates and two alternates at a meeting April 28.

Also on April 28 the Democratic State Committee will hold elections for the two Democratic National Committee posts held by Sullivan and Burling.

Although neither has made a formal announcement, both are expected to seek reelection.

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SMART MOVE. Like him or not, Romney and his campaign made all the right moves in winning the New Hampshire primary, from holding a ton of town hall meetings, to going door-to-door, to running a strong direct-mail campaign.

The effort didn't stop after the primary. On Monday, New Hampshire Romney supporters received an email from state campaign director Jason McBride asking them to stay involved by signing up to call South Carolina on Romney's behalf from their Granite State homes.

Meanwhile, after a few days of rest, Romney surrogate former Gov. John H. Sununu will head to South Carolina today.

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STANDING UP. Standing Up for New Hampshire Families has recruited former Major League pitcher Bob Tewksbury of Concord to help convince lawmakers to reject legislation that would repeal the state's same-sex marriage law.

The group says about 70 lawmakers, both Republicans and Democrats, attended a legislative breakfast it sponsored yesterday.

A House vote on House Bill 437 is expected in early February. Gov. Lynch has said he will veto attempts to repeal the law.

John DiStaso is senior political reporter for the New Hampshire Union Leader and New Hampshire Sunday News.

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