The New Hampshire Republican state convention met in Derry, New Hampshire, on Saturday morning September 29, 2012. The day started with a public rally that was separate from the convention that featured GOP Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan.
The formal state GOP convention met on another building on the campus of Pinkerton Academy, a large semi-private prep school located in Derry that looks much like a typical New England university campus.
Keynote speaker for the event was Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker who gave a spirited and positive speech Governor Walker gained national notoriety with his positions regarding scaling back public union worker state-paid benefits. The union backlash and ensuing failed recall election left Governor Walker as somewhat of a hero among GOP leaders. Gov Walker and non-partisan Center for Public Integrity credit that recall election as being the most expensive in Wisconsin history with more than $70 million spent by both sides. Gov. Walker won the recall election with more votes than in his 2010 election against Democrat Tom Barrett, the same opponent as in the recall election.
Other speakers included NH House Speaker William O’Brien whose remarks were largely aimed at Democratic Governor candidate Maggie Hassan and at times quite humorous, Congressmen Charlie Bass and Frank Gunita, and NH Governor candidate Ovide Lamontaigne who has established a moniker as simply “Ovide” (pronounced O-Vid). All speakers offered enthusiastic and powerful arguments for their candidacy.
The convention’s afternoon session focused on approvals, amendments, and finalization of the state GOP’s new platform. The previous platform had been in place at least 6 years and the re-write was aimed at streamlining and bringing the platform up to date. As is the case in either Democratic or Republican conventions, the parties of “unity” digressed at times during hot debate over wording of platform issues but at the end of the day the delegates adjourned and left speaking with each other respectfully and with an overall air of confidence.
The state convention of either party is one of the least publicized events during the election season. Democrats held their 2012 convention in June with few members of the public even knowing the event had taken place. The Republican convention is composed of delegates who are elected in the state primary in early September and many who voted in September did not understand that the “Delegate to State Convention” line on the Republican ballot was a vote for a delegate who would be modifying and approving party platform planks within a few weeks and not a vote for a primary candidate. The other major function of the elected delegates, after the November general election, is to select party officials for the upcoming year.