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November 09. 2012 7:47PM

GOP vice chair eyes run for party's top job

CONCORD - State Republican Party vice chairman Cliff Hurst said Friday he is considering running for party chairman. The state committee will choose its leadership in January.

Hurst, the three-time chairman of the Manchester Republican Committee, said he was flattered by a Facebook page and website set up to draft him to run.

He said he had "nothing to do" with those efftorts but said he intended to consider a candidacy through the weekend and speak with current chairman Wayne MacDonald, who also has yet to decide if he will run for a full term.

Hurst said he was unsure if he would run against MacDonald if MacDonald runs, but he did not rule it out.

Hurst co-chaired presidential campaigns for Mike Huckabee in 2008 and Tim Pawlenty, who ran briefly for president in the early stages of the 2012 campaign.

Republican supporters said Hurst has the ability to unite the party because he appeals to all factions of the party.

Meanwhile, in the race shaping up for Republican leader of the House, outgoing state Rep. David Bates, R-Windham, said he is helping Deputy Speaker Pam Tucker's campaign for minority leader and that she "has already reached" receiving support form at least one-third of the caucus.

Friday afternoon, Tucker released an initial list of 70 supporters in the 178-member caucus. The number of Republican in the caucus may change depending on recounts.

Bates said it appears the race for minority leader will boil down to Tucker, R-Greenland, versus former House speaker Gene Chandler, R-Bartlett, the current speaker pro tem.

State Rep.-elect Laurie Sanborn, R-Bedford, is also considering running for minority leader.

The Democrats, about to assume the majority after two years in the minority, appear poised to return Rep. Terie Norelli, D-Portsmouth, the current minority leader, as speaker.

Rep. David Campbell, D-Nashua, is also running for speaker.

The Democrats will chose their candidate for speaker on Nov. 17. Republicans will caucus on Nov. 15.

There will be no corresponding drama in the state Senate. Republicans, who have a 13-11 majority, have made Sen. Peter Bragdon, R-Milford, their choice for Senate President and Sen. Sylvia Larsen, D-Concord, has been chosen Senate Democratic leader by her colleagues.

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