January 02, 2013JEFFERSON — New Hampshire Republican Chair Wayne MacDonald ruled on Dec. 19 that Coös County Commissioner Tom Brady, a lifelong Republican of Jefferson, is ineligible to serve on the state committee because he endorsed a Democrat this fall, something not allowed under the Party's by-laws.
Brady endorsed Jeff Woodburn, a lifelong Democrat of Dalton, in his successful race for State Senate against Debi Warner, a Republican of Littleton.
This action drew statewide notice, but Brady only recently broke his silence on the Party's internal workings.
"I am deeply saddened and dismayed by the recent action taken against me by the Chairman of the Republican State Committee," Brady wrote in a statement e-mailed on Dec. 26. "I could not believe that Chairman Wayne McDonald has decided to expel me from the Coös County Republican Committee and the State Republican Committee because I supported Jeff Woodburn for State Senate.
"Jeff was the only candidate for state Senate running in the general election from Coös County, and he won the seat by such a large margin one would have to assume that many Republicans voted for him.
"Please understand that Coös County is down to only 10 State Representatives and throughout history this Senate seat has been held by someone from Coös County, Brady pointed out. "It is with great pride that we have continued to hold the seat in our county. I believe residents of Coös County must have representation from people who understand our needs."
Furthermore, Brady explained, he does not believe that he did break any Party rules.
"I was told Chairman McDonald cited a recently enacted section of the by-laws to remove me from the committee after being elected on December 15. I do not believe that I violated that section. That section of the by-laws deals with individuals who supported a political committee of another party or were part of an organized group supporting someone from another party. I did neither.
"Although Jeff and I ran against each other for Coös County Commissioner eight years ago, we have become friends and respect each other for our efforts to improve the quality of life for everyone living in our neck of the woods. While we are members of opposing parties, we know that each of us has a desire to put the people of Coös County first.
"To think that Chairman McDonald would demand everyone living in Coös County vote for someone from outside Coös County and give up this Senate seat to someone from another county is to say that we must put a political party ahead of what is best for our citizens.
"This type of thinking has led to so many of the problems we face today," Brady continued.
"I believe my constituents must come first. Does the Chairman of the Republican Party of New Hampshire really want to tell the people of Coös County that the Party must be above the people? In other words, does Chairman McDonald want to push a belief that it is politics above people? Does the Chairman really believe that it is necessary to exile a lifelong Republican activist because of support for one Democrat?
"It is interesting to note that all throughout our history when Republicans controlled the Senate, House, Governor's Council, and many times the Governorship we had no such restriction in the by-laws. Narrow-minded policies and beliefs do not lead to majorities; they lead to election defeats. If as a Party we try to appeal to only 30 to 40 percent of the population, we will receive less than 30 percent of the vote.
"Personally, I have been a member of the Coös County Republican Committee and a member of the State Committee for over 30 years. I have always been a real Republican. I have served as area vice-chairman of the State Committee. I have been co-chairman and secretary of the County Committee. I have also served as Chairman of the County Committee at least five times.
"While I was Chairman we had some of the largest Republican majorities in the House from Coös County. I have continually worked for Republican candidates for office. I have been town chair for many Republicans. In the late 1980s I served in the New Hampshire House of Representatives.
"In 2004, I was elected Coos County Commissioner, defeating Jeff Woodburn. In March of this year, I was elected a selectman in the town of Jefferson.
"In November, I was re-elected to my 4th term as Coös County Commissioner. In this past election, I received more votes in the district than President Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Governor-elect Maggie Hassan, Ovide Lamontagne, Congressman Charlie Bass, Congresswoman-elect Annie Kuster, and Councilor Raymond Burton. And, that is in a district that is tilting Democrat!
"Does Chairman McDonald want to expel Republicans that appeal not only to Republicans, but to all residents of their district?
"There was once a day when my party — the real Republican Party — was the Party of the majority. It was the big tent philosophy. These narrow-minded rules requiring members to worship Concord and the central authority will make the Republican Party the party not of the big tent but of the pup tent.
"There once was a day when my party — the real Republican Party — stood with freedom loving people, not only oversees, but also in every remote region of the nation, including Coös County.
"There once was a day when my party — the real Republican Party — stood up to defend the United States Constitution with the Bill of Rights, including freedom of speech in every remote region of the nation including Coös County.
"There once was a day when my party — the real Republican Party — would stand to defend individual rights, not trample on them in remote regions such as Coös County.
"Every student of history should know that freedom is fragile. Democracy is equally fragile. Our liberties have been under attack from many directions. We have witnessed the loss of many of our personal freedoms. Is one member of the Republican Party supporting a friend of the opposite party that threatening to the State Republican Party? Is one member of the Republican Party giving his support to the only candidate from his county for a particular office that threatening to the State Republican Party?
"Rest assured, this action by Chairman McDonald has no bearing on my continuing to be a Republican. I am a true fiscal conservative who will continue to represent the people of my district as a Coös County Commissioner.
"For the Republican Party of New Hampshire to return to the majorities we enjoyed for decades, we must be inclusive and welcome all to join."
At the Coös County Republican caucus held at the Water Wheel restaurant and gift shop, Commissioner Brady was elected with others to represent the county on the 500-member state committee whose members are scheduled to meet at the state party's annual meeting on Jan. 26 in Bedford to elect party officers, including the Party chair. WMUR-TV characterized this race for the top slot as "a contest between the establishment-backed Jennifer Horn and the grassroots upstart Andrew Hemingway."
Hemingway supporters apparently pointed out that Brady might be ineligible to serve on the state committee because he had backed Woodburn and not Warner, the Republican candidate.
Woodburn touted Brady's endorsement on his Facebook page, pointing out that "former foes unite" because Brady and Woodburn had faced off in Brady's first run for county commissioner when Brady was the winner. In the run-up to this year's Nov. 6 election, Brady gave Woodburn permission to erect a by 4- by 8-foot "Vote for Woodburn" sign on Route 2 in front of Six Gun City, a western theme-park owned and operated by members of the extended Brady family.
Coös County Republicans asked MacDonald's opinion in advance of the state meeting. On Wednesday, Dec. 19, the NHGOP e-mailed Coös County Republicans: "As requested, Tom Brady is ineligible to be on the State Committee due to the fact he publicly endorsed the Democratic State Senate candidate in this year's cycle." His ineligibility, according to the e-mail, complies with the Party's rules: Article I, Section 4, Qualifications.
Later this month, Coös Republicans are expected to elect another delegate to take Brady's place at their county meeting. This could have a small impact on the contested race for state party chair that will be determined late this month.
Coös County Republican chairman Eric Catman of Berlin could not be reached for comment.