N.H. GOP Chair: 'Our Party Is More United Than We've Ever Been'

Jan 12, 2015

Credit Kelli True / NHPR

    

The head of the state Republican Party was elected to her second term over the weekend.

Jennifer Horn first won the party’s chairmanship in 2013, and now with division among Republicans in the House and a big presidential primary looming, she’s taking on the role for another two years.

Jennifer Horn joins Morning Edition to talk about her re-election.

So you’ll be at the helm of the state Republican Party for another two years. What do you see as the biggest challenge heading into your second term?

Of course, what we really need to do is continue to build on what we’ve done for the last two years. We need to continue to expand the size of the base of Republican voters in our state. We need to raise the resources that we need to get good Republicans elected. And we’ve got to go out there and engage in conversations with our neighbors across the state about why Republican values are right for them.

Let’s talk about the state of the party. Nowhere does it appear Republicans are more divided than in the New Hampshire House.

There are now two clear factions of the GOP, after House Speaker Shawn Jasper used Democratic support to thwart Bill O’Brien’s attempt to reclaim the speakership.

How concerned are you that this division will get in the way of the Republican-majority being able to come together on major initiatives this session?

I’m not concerned. In fact, I would suggest that in a lot of ways, our party is more united than we’ve ever been. The party is bigger and stronger than any one person or any one disagreement. I’m fully confident that the Republicans who have been elected to serve in the House are going to step forward with the character and the dignity that the voters expect from them and they’re going to work together to advance good legislation. Legislation that will make it easier to do business in New Hampshire, that will make it easier to grow jobs, that will make it easier for families to pay their mortgages and plan for their children’s future.

So you don’t see the squabbles going on in the New Hampshire House as a distraction in any way?

I’m not at all concerned that the Republicans who have been elected to serve will be unable to do the job that they were sent there to do. We’re already seeing them working on the necessary initiatives that I think voters are looking for. And I think you’re going to see that ability to work together is not only going to continue to grow, it will be evident.

We’re already seeing some big Republican names come to New Hampshire, testing the waters for the upcoming presidential primary.

What do you see as your role as all these candidates vie the support of voters here?

New Hampshire voters take the role that they play in this process very seriously, to vet candidates, to get to know them, to make sure they’re answering the real questions about the issues that voters really care about, face to face. I’m looking forward to playing the role of the person who not only welcomes them here, but makes sure that they have access to the information and the people they need and to make sure that we have a fair and robust conversation as we go through this process.

Looking ahead a bit to 2016, the big race for Republicans will be in the Senate, where Kelly Ayotte will be up for re-election.

Republicans failed last year in ousting Democrat Jeanne Shaheen. What do you think needs to be done differently to ensure victory in the next Senate race?

I would suggest that Senator Shaheen came a lot closer to losing her job than anybody on the other side expected her to. We’re going to go into this race certainly prepared to do everything necessary not just to protect Senator Ayotte and her seat, but to make sure our neighbors across the state know how hard Senator Ayotte has been working on their behalf; that they’re aware of the value-added effort she has put into all of this over the last four years.