Conservative activist wins contest to represent New Hampshire at Republican National Convention

Conservative activist wins contest to represent New Hampshire at Republican National Convention
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Steve Duprey was ousted from his role as New Hampshire’s representative to the Republican National Committee (RNC) Saturday after losing his reelection bid to conservative activist and Hillsborough County Republican Chair Chris Ager.

Duprey, who previously served as the chair of the state’s Republican Party for four terms, had the backing of high-profile New Hampshire Republicans such as Gov. Chris Sununu and Cory Lewandowski. Duprey was also close to the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainBiden's pick for vice president doesn't matter much Juan Williams: Biden's promises on women are a big deal Ernst calls for public presidential campaign funds to go to masks, protective equipment MORE (R-Ariz.). 

Duprey decided to step down from his post following his defeat rather than waiting to leave office at the end of his fourth term in August at the Republican National Convention. He backed Ager after his resignation to make his election unanimous.

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“I would like to thank everyone for their support not only in this election, but over the four decades of service I’ve given to the New Hampshire Republican Party," Duprey tweeted after his surprise defeat. "It has meant a great deal to me.

“I was honored to move to make the election of Chris Ager unanimous and to also elect him to fill my unexpired term effective today,” he added. “I look forward to continuing to find ways to help our party and our state in 2020 and in the years to come.” 

The vote ousting Duprey came at a meeting of the Republican State Committee.

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The Hillsborough County Republican Party thanked Duprey for his service following the vote, saying his withdrawal “showed amazing class and moved our party towards unity.” 

The election comes just days before New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary on Feb. 11. 

The top role of the New Hampshire members of the Republican National Committee is to keep the state’s primary as the first in the nation and ensure that the party’s rules cement its status. Other states have failed in the past to supplant the Granite State’s nominating contest and have their own primary come first.

The race between Duprey and Ager evolved into a familiar contest between the establishment and grassroots branches of the state GOP, with activists saying the pro-choice Duprey was insufficiently conservative or loyal to President TrumpDonald John TrumpIllinois governor says state has gotten 10 percent of medical equipments it's requested Biden leads Trump by 6 points in national poll Tesla offers ventilators free of cost to hospitals, Musk says MORE, according to WMUR.

“I will represent the Republican Party grassroots,” Ager said during the state committee meeting.

“That’s who I am. I’m still that person. I am pro-life. I kicked Planned Parenthood out of our school system,” he added before praising Trump for attending the March for Life on Friday.

New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley said in a statement that he looked forward to working with Ager to protect the state’s primary, but said his election signified the rise of “extremists” in the GOP. 

“[T]oday’s upset victory sends a clear message that the New Hampshire Republican Party is a party of right-wing extremists, voting out their long-time leader because of his support for abortion rights, even after Governor Sununu and the entire Republican establishment lined up behind him,” Buckley said.