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State GOP officials expected to scrap new fee

State Republican leaders are expected to scrap a new $25 annual fee for state party members today because of heavy backlash.

“The State Party has been inundated with calls and/or emails asking this decision be reversed,” party Chairman Wayne MacDonald said in an email Tuesday to party leaders. “Furthermore, we have received numerous email and phone complaints, negative press and have observed negative online discussion.”

The party’s executive committee, which passed the fee in a meeting this month, will meet by telephone today to consider rescinding the new charge. Among those calling for the fee to be rescinded are the two people running for chairman, Jennifer Horn of Nashua and Andrew Hemingway of Bristol.

Committee member Steve Duprey of Concord, who proposed the fee to highlight the fundraising commitment that comes with party membership, said yesterday he expects the fee will be dropped.

“I’m delighted the issue has been raised,” Duprey said. “If you are going to serve on the state committee, it is a working position. And a large part of the work to be done is to raise money. Just by having this discussion and this controversy . . . I think that message is out there now.”

Duprey said it’s possible the executive committee will suggest the $25 fee remain but as a suggested donation.

The annual fee was not going to be charged to all Republicans, just the 506 who win election to the state party. Duprey, who has served as the state party chairman and on the finance committee, said his intention was to make clear that serving on the state party is not an honorary position. For too long, he said, party members have considered their duty to be done after they voted in a chairperson at the annual meeting.

He estimated that less than 40 percent of party members donate to the party and that less than 10 percent donate more than $500. The result, Duprey said, is that Democrats have been outraising Republicans. He considered the $25 annual fee a commitment to not only promoting the party but raising money for it.

The party’s current finance chairman, Jim Foley of Derry, told the Union Leader that he’s against rescinding the fee. Duprey said that’s no surprise given that Foley is the one trying to get the party financially sound.

(Annmarie Timmins can be reached at 369-3323, atimmins@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @annmarietimmins.)

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