The New Hampshire GOP has run amok. It has gone lawless and rouge. If its elections were those of any government agency, Stephen Stepanek, Elliot Gault, Joe Sweeney, and Attorney Bryan Gould would likely be facing criminal charges. But since the New Hampshire Republican Committee is a “club,” they can tamper with elections and commit fraud with impunity.
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I was cautioned by both a State Representative and State Senator that others have tried and failed to sue “Team GOP” (the moniker the executive board has given themselves) and the New Hampshire Republican Committee (the NHRC or NH GOP) because the courts will not hear the case. Political Committees are given special consideration by the State and Federal Government.
They handle (or mishandle) millions and millions of dollars each election cycle; in fact, so much that they left hundreds of thousands in a miscellaneous “other” account, that raised eyebrows and had State Committee members asking the Treasurer uncomfortable questions at the January State Caucus. That is until Joe Sweeney stepped in and saved him by explaining it away as “nothing to see here.”
They hold incredible influence over not only elections but also the club that all our elected representatives are either a part of or in conflict with.
They set the platform and values that the GOP stands for in NH, and they greatly influence who is elected and who is “in,” and who is “out.” Us common folk that simply vote our convictions might expect such organizations would be held to their own bylaws and some oversight and accountability by the courts, but, according to them, they are private clubs, and no court is going to bother settling disputes about their bylaws.
Here is how the political party system really works. It gets a bit complicated, but it’s important to all of us, and none of the elitists from “the country club” are going to tell you this. If you are a registered party member (you are registered as a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, etc.), you can vote for your party’s candidates in the primary. If there are several people running for the same office, you get to vote for which one you want to represent you and your party in the general election. The candidate that wins goes on to the general election, and if they lose, that’s it, right? Well no. Not really.
Maybe you remember seeing people on the ballot in the primary running for “Delegate” and wondered what that was about. All the candidates that make it through the primary are “Delegates.” It doesn’t matter if they win or lose the general election; as long as they make it through the primary and represent the party in the general election, they are Delegates.
People can also sign up to be on the ballot as just a Delegate without running for office. The reason they do this is that in December, after the general election, the Delegates have an important and very misunderstood job. They represent the people of each County and City in an important vote, which shapes the nature and future of the party.
You see, only County Delegates get to vote for the County Committee Members for each party and then only the County Committee Members are the voting members of each County Committee, and only they get to vote for the officers and bylaws of the County Committees, and only they make up the State Committee, and only they get to vote for the State Committee bylaws and elect the State Committee Officers i.e., Stephen Stepanek, Pam Tucker, Elliot Gault, and co.
So, the consent of the governed, the ability of the people to establish representative government through the integrity of elections, is fundamental to our Constitutional Republic. We may not, however, realize that the people on the ballot are also our only representatives in shaping our parties, in electing their officers and establishing their bylaws for the county, state and ultimately the nation.
If our Elected Delegates are denied fair elections, it is not only our Delegates that are disenfranchised. All the people that voted for them are robbed of their vote, of their representation, of their voice in determining what the party stands for and who runs it. Stolen elections usurp the consent of the governed, and those that gain power in such elections are rogue and illegitimate.
On December 10th, just such an election took place in Grafton County. It began with a secret nomination process and systemic misinformation and ended in an invalid election being belligerently forced on the County, which maintained a majority for Stephen Stepanek.
Delegates were told by multiple officials that they were automatically included on the list of County Committee Nominees. These officials even argued the point after it was proven untrue. The list of Nominees was never revealed to the Delegates, and they were asked at a Zoom meeting to approve a hasty voice vote of a motion and second to elect everyone on a list that was never disclosed, and no one had actually seen.
This meeting was improperly called by Stepanek, and the vote was improperly moderated by Stepanek, Gault, and Sweeney. Delegates were shocked and angered to later learn that they were not included on the list, were not elected to the County Committee, and were not members of the County Committee or State Committee.
They literally voted themselves out without knowing it. Some were State Representatives. Others signed up for the primary and went through the entire process with no other hope than to become a Delegate just so they could vote in this one election and become a member of the County/State Committee. All that for nothing, just to be duped out of a fair election.
The Delegates started to ask questions. Why didn’t they know they weren’t on the list and to make matters worse, several on the list were “old guard” fossils and their spouses, people that hadn’t been to a meeting or involved with the County Committee in years while those actively engaged, that attended fundraisers and waved flags and ran for office and even those elected to office were excluded.
They asked, “How did this nomination process work?” In open organizations, the people nominate candidates, but, in this case, candidates were elected secretly by a nominating committee. Who was on the secret nominating committee?
The Grafton County nominating committee was made up of only one person, part of the “old guard.” He picked the nominees but didn’t fill the list… although there were more than enough Delegates to fill the entire list without adding any of the do-nothing old guard… or their spouses.
In large organizations, there’s nothing wrong with having a nominating committee. The GCRC was obscure and unknown to the general public and usually only had a handful of seniors at their meetings. The need for a committee of one person rather than a general call for nominees was questionable but acceptable if it was done openly and the list published before the election.
Grafton County is allotted 46 Committee Members. Our nominating committee of one nominated 35, and the NH GOP later added 2 and claimed 37 nominees were elected. If more than 46 are nominated, all seats must be contested, and the election requires a ballot vote. If there are less than 46 nominations, the election does not require a ballot, and the entire list can be voted on with one voice vote.
Such a vote has two very important requirements: (1) each of the names on the list must be read aloud, and it must be disclosed if the list is short. (2) nominations must be called for and taken from the floor. This ensures fair and open elections.
So, what if the process was secret! So, what if the nominating committee was only one guy who packed the nominations with the old guard country club elite and excluded others! So, what if you went through all this insufferable nonsense just to be a Delegate and try to make a difference but were ignored and left out!
If Sweeney and Gault read each of the names on the list aloud and take nominations from the floor, those Delegates and Representatives that care enough to attend the election will hear that the list is short! They will hear that their names are not on the list! They will hear that the list is packed with old-guard elites!
They will nominate themselves and others, and the list will surely grow well beyond 46! It will have to be put to a paper ballot and voted on by Delegates, who will surely vote themselves onto the committee and vote out others that are not Delegates. That would be a fair election.
That is not what was done. Joe Sweeney and Elliot Gault did not read the names of each of the 35 or 37 nominees aloud, and they did not call for nominations from the floor. When challenged by the Delegates. Sweeney and Gault claim they did all these things.
Did the Delegates experience mass amnesia? Did they black they collectively blackout all 37 names being read aloud… even when their own names were read aloud or not… even names such as Bjelobrk, which Joe Sweeney recently tried but failed to read aloud and had to ask for the correct pronunciation.
They have tried to gaslight everyone rather and refused to produce a copy of the video, which would easily settle the matter.
What to do, what to do?
The Delegates asked the NH GOP to cure the violations of the bylaws and Roberts Rules of order and hold a fair election. The County Chairman wrote Stephan Stepanek, and the Plymouth Area Republican Committee Chair wrote Stephen Stepanek and several Representatives made statements about the illegitimate election, but The NH GOP refused and became belligerent.
The message was clear that they were not going to admit any wrongdoing and were going to force Grafton County to accept the results. Our Delegates began asking questions again. What do they care who we in Grafton County elect to represent us? Why don’t they want our Delegates to represent us rather than those this one guy picked? Why won’t they fix this? Is this just about them refusing to admit fault?
By County bylaws, the County Chairman can call the annual Caucus to elect its County Committee Members. It does not have to be called by Stepanek. The latest date to do this was January 11th. Also, according to County bylaws, ANY member can call a meeting if a petition is signed by a quorum (1/4 of the members). Two petitions were signed by a quorum. One was submitted to the State Chairman, Stephen Stepanek, and the other to the County Chairman, requiring them to call a meeting to void the first election and hold another election for Grafton’s Committee Members.
After Stepanek refused and lawyered up, the Grafton County Chairman called a meeting on January 11th. Stephen Stepanek, Joe Sweeney, and even the GOP Attorney, Bryan Gould, responded by calling Grafton County Committee Members, intimidating them, and telling them not to attend the meeting.
Despite this, a quorum of Delegates did attend. Nominations were taken from the floor. 53 nominations were made in total; all were put to contest by printed paper ballot, and 46 County Committee members were legitimately elected to the County and State Committee by the Delegates.
This is where the story should end however it is not. It gets worse. The 46 elected did not give Stepanek a sure majority. Half or more of the Committee Members, the Grafton County Delegates elected in open elections, are constitutionalists and patriots that do not side with the old guard and despise country club politics.
The NH GOP refused to recognize the 46 and refused to allow them to vote in the recent state election, which overwhelmingly elected Stepanek. The delegates started asking questions again and realized it is not just Grafton County. The GOP used the same strong-arm tactics with Belknap County and others, and now a widespread defection and exodus from the NH GOP is taking shape.
Once again, the NH GOP is violating its bylaws as well as those of the County. It has usurped the authority of the GCRC and has called a meeting to force a vote for 9 County Committee Members to fill out its illegitimate list of 37.
It is also attempting to overturn the County’s fair and open election of officers, also held on January 11th in accordance with its bylaws, duly called by the County Chairman and voted upon by a quorum of its Committee Members (including the 37 the GOP recognizes). Rules don’t matter to the GOP anymore!
This is about results, and they will twist the rules or simply ignore them and gaslight everyone until they get the results they want. In the end, they will likely win, but what? A husk of corruption and elitist country club backroom dealing?
Possibly all they see is a senatorial run for Sununu but what they are losing is the Republicans that actually stand for something, the Republicans that believe in the constitution and natural rights, in the rule of law and upholding it, in God and Country and conservative values, that refuse to compromise right with wrong, that refuses to negotiate away our God-given rights and refuse top-down authority rather than bottom-up representation…
The Republicans that were responsible for winning the House, a Senate, and Executive Committee though they were then vilified by the GOP for attempting to take them back… These are the Republicans they are losing!