State Republican Party chair Jennifer Horn and U.S. Rep.-elect Frank Guinta are making it clear this afternoon that they are not taking sides in the race for New Hampshire House Speaker.
While six top “establishment” Republicans, including Sen. Kelly Ayotte, came out on Wednesday night in favor of House Republican Leader and former speaker Gene Chandler over former speaker Bill O’Brien, Horn says she has no favorite and that the party will work with whoever emerges as Speaker.
“We are very pleased that Republicans have earned the trust of the people of New Hampshire and restored our majority in the House,” Horn said in a statement given to the New Hampshire Journal.
“We are lucky to have two highly qualified candidates running for Speaker. The New Hampshire Republican State Committee believes that either Bill O’Brien or Gene Chandler will make a strong speaker. Regardless of the outcome of this race, we look forward to working closely with both of them to promote responsible Republican principles that will benefit all Granite Staters.”
Chairs of either party have traditionally not taken sides in contested races for House speaker. Still, after the pro-Chandler letter from Ayotte, former Govs. John H. Sununu and Stever Merrill, former U.S. Rep. Charlie Bass and former speakers Doug Scamman and Donna Sytek, the New Hampshire Journal sought out Horn’s position earlier Friday.
Horn will be presiding at the GOP caucus in which the party’s candidate for Speaker is chosen on Tuesday afternoon.
Also Friday afternoon, a spokesman for Guinta said he is neutral, but had no further comment.