Steve Duprey, who has served four terms representating New Hampshire on the Republican National Committee, lost his bid for re-election Saturday. Chris Ager, chairman of the Hillsborough County GOP, will take Duprey's spot after winning election at the annual meeting of the New Hampshire Republican Party.
The race offered a contrast between a well-connected, well-known party insider, and an activist who gained attention among conservatives for his vocal support of President Trump. While Duprey campaigned with the backing of much of the state's Republican establishment, including Gov. Chris Sununu, Ager was endorsed by grassroots conservative groups like the 603 Alliance. Critics accused Duprey of showing insufficient support for Trump. Duprey has said he believes the state party should be neutral in the presidential nominating process.
Duprey stepped down immediately after Saturday's vote was tallied, rather than finishing out his term. He said he wanted to ensure Ager got the experience of attending this year’s national GOP meetings and the party’s convention. Duprey received a standing ovation and pledged to continue working to elect Republicans in New Hampshire.
Ager told the crowd of approximately 400 party members, gathered at Inter-Lakes High School in Meredith, that he will invigorate the party and defend Republican values.
“I see an imminent threat from socialists in this country," Ager said. "And I want to be part of stopping that. I want to bring new energy, new enthusiasm, new excitement.”
The national committeeman positions weigh in on big issues like the party’s official platform and nominating rules. In New Hampshire, the role is also critical in the state's perennial effort to retain its spot at the front of the presidential nomiating schedule. Juliana Bergeron of Keene was re-elected to the state's other national committee post. She was unopposed.
Along with the votes for the national committee spots, the party also heard from its elected leaders Saturday, including Sununu and state Sen. Chuck Morse. Republican candidates for Senate and Congress also spoke to the crowd. The event had the feel of a pep rally, helped along by Sununu, who predicted big victories for Republicans in the 2020 general election.
“The Democrats are going to get their asses kicked so bad," Sununu told the crowd, to loud cheers.
Republicans are currently in the minority in both the New Hampshire House and Senate, and hold none of the state's four congressional seats.