New Hampshire Republicans are locked in a bitter battle for power, leading to a potential problem for presidential candidates picking sides during the primaries, according to The Wall Street Journal
Republicans recently regained the New Hampshire House from Democrats and now control both legislative chambers, giving them a strong bargaining position against Democrat Gov. Maggie Hassan, who was re-elected in November.
But the joys of victory were short-lived because House Republicans quickly became embroiled in a power struggle over the speakership, which reflected the rift between conservatives and moderate Republicans in Congress.
William O’Brien, a conservative who had previously served as speaker from 2011-2012, had the support of a slender GOP majority, and it was expected that he would be elected, according to the Journal.
He had endeared himself to conservatives during his term with his extensive budget cuts, his failed effort to repeal gay marriage and his support of an unsuccessful bill allowing employees in unionized workplaces to opt out of paying union dues.
But a small group of Republicans joined with House Democrats last month to elect Republican Shawn Jasper to the two-year speaker post.
O’Brien claimed that he lost due to “an ideological breakdown,” but Jasper said that although he’s a conservative, he’s also a pragmatist and is willing to work with Democrats to help the state’s healthcare and economic concerns.
“I don’t care to spend a lot of time and energy on issues that just can’t become law,” Jasper said, while noting that the governor has the power of veto.
Dante Scala, an associate professor of political science at the University of New Hampshire, said the split could create problems for Republican presidential contenders prior to the 2016 campaign.
With New Hampshire as one of the early primary states, White House candidates will have to consider carefully before calling on local officials for their endorsements, the newspaper said.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.