Back in January, New Hampshire Republicans elected Jack Kimball, a one-time gubernatorial candidate and Tea Party member, to be the chairman of the New Hampshire GOP. Kimball prevailed in a divisive race that saw outgoing leader John Sununu urging his fellows to support the establishment favorite, businesswoman Juliana Bergeron.
Sununu's chief concern was New Hampshire's presidential primary, and its historic openness. As the Associated Press reported at the time, "Sununu and his allies said a tea party candidate could create a hostile environment for some candidates who don't subscribe to the movement's orthodoxy or who come from a moderate background."
"The worst thing for the New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary is for people to feel this is not a place where they want to participate," Sununu was quoted as saying.
Well, six months in to Kimball's reign, I think that Sununu can agree that what he described wasn't "the worst thing," at all. Per Shawn Millerick in today's New Hampshire Journal:
The New Hampshire Republican State Committee is in disarray and Chairman Jack Kimball is reeling under the strain of a job he thought would be a piece of cake, multiple Republican sources tell NH Journal.
As the Journal first reported last week, Kimball has drained state party finances to such an extent that it has a mere $1,300 left in its federal account, the account from which is pays most of its expenses.
Uh-oh! But running the New Hampshire Republican party was supposed to be so easy! Now, according to Millerick, it's gotten so bad that the state party is seeking a loan of $1,000 from the Strafford County GOP so that they can host a fundraiser for Herman Cain. According to the report, Kimball's defenders are laying blame at the feet of Will Wrobleski, the executive director Kimball hired who, according to reports, "frequently rejects innovative fundraising ideas in favor of costly events." (If you are an opponent of Kimball, you'd probably say, "Well, sure, but he hired this guy.")
Kimball's ascent came with anti-establishment flourish and a desire to clean house. Fergus Cullen, a one-time chair of the New Hampshire GOP who's remained one of the state's most trusted old-guard political figures, told The New York Times' Abby Goodnough in January, "He thinks everyone else is a sellout and a RINO...He is absolutely a purity Republican."
Ensuing events have seemingly tested his resolve on that matter. In April, Kimball did something that few in the Tea Party would ever consider doing: he defended Mitt Romney's CommonwealthCare.
Now, Millerick reports that the guy who once aimed to purify the state party is soon to face an ouster:
The Journal can confirm a plot is indeed in place to oust Kimball. For weeks the Journal has investigated a swirling series of rumors about a plan to depose Kimball. Paradoxically, those looking to dump Kimball are actually hoping the GOP will lose a pair of upcoming special elections. The thinking is that the GOP needs to hit rock bottom before the ouster –- or "coup" as Kimball terms it -– can be successful.
Just $1,300 to go, I guess!