Dec 17, 2015 6:46 PM

Steinhauser: Key member of Trump's N.H. campaign pushing to oust Horn as NHGOP chair

NH1 Political Director -

CONCORD - A state lawmaker who’s a key member of GOP presidential front runner Donald Trump’s campaign in the Granite State is gathering names in his push to remove Jennifer Horn as chair of the New Hampshire Republican Party.

State Rep. Joshua Whitehouse of Farmington Thursday emailed Republican State Committee members, asking them to consider his “petition to hear, consider, and vote on a motion to vacate the chair of the New Hampshire Republican State Committee.”

NH1 News obtained a copy of the petition Thursday afternoon.

Whitehouse, who is Trump’s state coalitions director, touted in his email that former New Hampshire House speaker Bill O’Brien, a state co-chair for Sen. Ted Cruz’s campaign for president, and Stafford County GOP Chair Bill O’Connor and Carrol County Republican Committee Chairman and state Rep. Lino Avellani have signed on. Both O’Connor and Avellani remain neutral in the race for the GOP presidential nomination.

Whitehouse added that state Rep. Steve Stepanek of Amherst, Trump’s Granite State campaign chairman, and Rep. Al Baldasaro of Londonderry, a top local Trump surrogate and leader of Trump’s veterans coalition, have also signed the petition.

Whitehouse needs 50 of the 500 plus Republican state committee members to sign the petition in order to call a meeting. Asked by NH1 News how many signatures he currently has, Whitehouse said “plenty.”

In his email, Whitehouse wrote that “when Chairman Horn engaged in negative commentary towards Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, she violated the neutrality clause” which states that all state committee officers shall remain strictly neutral.

Horn has criticized Trump a bunch of times this year, from his slamming of Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly to his negative comments towards Sen. John McCain of Arizona, to his calls for a “database” on Muslims, and his recent proposal to ban Muslims from entering the U.S.

Horn’s said she isn’t considering resigning, adding that the state party’s bylaws only prevent officers from actively backing a candidate. She said that voicing concerns is not forbidden.

A state party spokesman chimed in recently that Horn is not in violation of the state party’s bylaws.

Even if Whitehouse secures the 50 signatures, state party bylaws say state committee meetings “shall" rather than "must" be called by the chair. And the laws don't indicate when such a meeting must be held.

If such a meeting does occur, a vote of at least two-thirds of the state committee members is needed to remove a party chair.

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