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House Speaker Shawn Jasper Hopes to Keep His Title Next Term

Paige Sutherland/NHPR
House Speaker Shawn Jasper officially announced his bid for the speakership at the State House Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016.

New Hampshire House Speaker Shawn Jasper is hoping to hold onto his leadership role for a second term.

But the Republican is already facing opposition from within his own party.

When Jasper was elected Speaker nearly two years ago – it wasn’t without drama.

It took several votes of the entire House, proposed rule changes and more than seven hours of debate. But in the end - Jasper beat out former Speaker Bill O’Brien, a fellow Republican. To do so, Jasper had to rely on support from Democrats – something that irked many of his party’s most conservative members.

Jasper promised two years ago to restore respect and order to the House – the same message he’s selling this year.

Credit Courtesy of Facebook
Carol McGuire, a four-term House Republican member from Epsom, announced she was running for the speakership last week.

“It really is going to be important to continue what I started and that is allowing legislators to feel that their opinions matter,” Jasper said during his announcement.  

House Majority Leader Dick Hinch was one of several GOP House members who stood next to Jasper Tuesday at the State House when he officially threw his hat into the race.

Hinch touted Jasper’s record as Speaker – saying he always had his door open, forged partnerships with the Senate and most importantly: “He has made great strides to bring the Caucus together from what we all know two years ago was a somewhat fractured Caucus.”

But given that two other Republican House members are fighting Jasper for the speaker’s gavel – it seems those fractures still linger.

Three-term House member Laurie Sanborn of Bedford and four-term House member Carole McGuire of Epsom announced their bids earlier this summer.

Credit Courtesy of Facebook
Laurie Sanborn, a three-time House Republican member of Bedford, announced her bid for the speakership back in August.

Both claim Jasper has failed to bring the party together. And Sanborn goes further to say Jasper and his leadership team have not represented the Republican Caucus’s platform - something Jasper says is untrue.

“People who say we have not been conservative enough are just speaking to a false narrative,” Jasper told reporters Tuesday.

But before House members vote on who will lead them next session, there’s another open question: which party will control the House after Election Day? Republicans currently hold the majority, but Democrats have fared well in state elections in presidential years. 

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