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Political Notebook

Top N.H. Republicans tell chairman to resign

August 26, 2011

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New Hampshire’s top Republicans called on the state’s embattled GOP chairman, Jack Kimball, to quit yesterday.

“To ensure that all of the party’s energy and resources are solely focused on electing Republicans, we believe it is time to move beyond this serious distraction,’’ said a joint statement released yesterday by US Senator Kelly Ayotte, US Representative Charles Bass, US Representative Frank Guinta, state House Speaker William O’Brien, and state Senate President Peter Bragdon.

“Therefore, we call upon Jack to put the best interests of New Hampshire Republicans first and step aside as chairman of the party.’’

It was the group’s first public call for Kimball’s ouster.

At a press conference, Kimball was defiant. He cast the division in the party’s leadership as one between establishment Republicans and the Tea Party movement, of which he is a member.

Kimball said he recognized the need to quickly resolve the problem but asserted he has been hindered by entrenched interests.

“Those who seek to remove me from my duly elected position recognize I represent a political movement much larger than myself,’’ he said. “One of the major goals of my chairmanship is to help this party move into the future, but sadly there are some still stuck in the past.’’

Critics contend that fund-raising has been lackluster and that divisions have been wider under Kimball’s tenure.

The party’s Executive Committee revealed yesterday that it plans to call for a vote to remove Kimball in a meeting Sept. 1. The letter was signed by 22 of the 36 committee members.

“I won’t step down,’’ Kimball said. “I’ll go to the meeting, they’ll look me in the eye, and they’ll vote.’’

— Shira Schoenberg

Obama campaign launches voter turnout program WASHINGTON - President Obama’s presidential campaign launched a new voter registration and grass-roots organizing program yesterday aimed at boosting turnout and participation among its core supporters.

The organization, called Project Vote, will try to increase involvement from voters who helped Obama win the White House in 2008, including young voters, seniors, blacks, Hispanics, American Indians, and gays and lesbians.

Obama’s campaign said the project will “drive our campaign strategy - from paid media, to digital outreach, to grass-roots organizing and voter registration efforts’’ to connect with voters, including those who have not voted at high rates in the past or who have recently moved.

Obama’s team raised a combined $86 million between its campaign and the Democratic National Committee during the spring, and campaign officials are already registering and organizing supporters for next year. The campaign has said a large turnout in 2008 helped propel Obama into the White House, and it hopes to repeat that effort.

Facing high unemployment and a jittery Wall Street, Obama has had to confront questions over his handling of the economy more than a year before the election. A new Associated Press-GfK poll found that 47 percent of voters said he deserves reelection, a statistical dead heat with those who favor a change in the White House.

The Republican National Committee said the project was a sign of weakness, arguing that the Obama campaign had lost ground with its base of supporters and was scrambling to connect with those voters.

— Associated Press

Hurricane Irene postpones King memorial dedication WASHINGTON - The dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall has been postponed indefinitely as Hurricane Irene bears down on the East Coast.

The memorial’s executive architect disclosed the postponement after a day of forecasts from the National Weather Service indicating Hurricane Irene was aimed at the East Coast.

Executive architect Ed Jackson Jr. said in an e-mail that no new date has been set for the dedication, which had been planned for Sunday.

President Obama was scheduled to speak. He is scheduled to return from his family’s vacation on Martha’s Vineyard tomorrow.

Organizers had said they expected to draw up to 250,000 people.

Sunday will be the 48th anniversary of King’s “I Have a Dream’’ speech, delivered nearby on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

— Associated Press

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