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New Hampshire Views: On this issue, GOP chief should butt out

Repeated calls by state Republican Party Chairwoman Jennifer Horn for Dover Mayor Dean Trefethen to resign from Mayors Against Illegal Guns are misplaced.

Trefethen has become the focus of controversy because of his membership in the group largely funded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The controversy in question arose when the Bloomberg group cut, pasted and then used a list from Slate.com which purportedly included only the names of shooting victims such as those from the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. Instead, the list contained the names of some shooters, including Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was culpable in the Boston Marathon bombings.

According to Slate.com, the list was simply an accounting of deaths, not a list of violence victims. Once this was discovered, Mayors Against Illegal Guns apologized.

“He was absolutely not a victim; his name should have been deleted before the list was provided to a family member for reading, and his name should never have been read,’’ the group said in a statement. “It was a mistake, it should not have happened, and we sincerely apologize.’’

The apology has not stopped Horn from hammering away at Trefethen for refusing to cut ties with the Bloomberg group.

Horn errs in trying to make Trefethen the poster boy for misplaced, left-wing causes.

The matter of Trefethen and Mayors Against Illegal Guns is not an issue of statewide concern. It is an issue of concern for Dover voters who elected him to office. In that context, Trefethen is fair game.

Such was the case this week when Councilor Michael Weeden went after Trefethen.

That said, we think Weeden’s call for Trefethen to resign is over the top. And as Trefethen has accused Horn of political grandstanding, we think Weeden is doing a bit of the same, now that he is running for re-election to the Dover City Council.

None of this excuses Trefethen should he run for re-election. He made a political choice in joining Mayors Against Illegal Guns that voters should scrutinize. On the surface, the decision has merit. As has been written somewhere during all the fuss, “Who can be against illegal guns?”

But the Bloomberg group showed its stripes early on by targeting U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte in a vicious political fashion over her stance on a Senate gun control bill. It was this attack that caused Nashua Mayor Donnalee Lozeau to call it quits.

Beyond Bloomberg’s partisan attack is the New York City mayor’s notion that he universally knows best – banning trans fats from his city and trying to make the Big Gulp illegal. Such is nanny state government praised by someone from the far left-wing of politics and Trefethen by inference.

But this is a free country (relatively speaking) and Trefethen is free to take such political risks. If, as he tells us, more support has come his way than criticism, Dover voters will keep him in office next election cycle.

If, however, Trefethen is turned out of office or dissuaded from running again it should be due to Dover voters as well — not from someone looking to make political hay across the state. In doing so, Horn may experience a backfire and see Dover rally to Trefethen’s support simply to protect one of its own.

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