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Thumb on the scale: Forrester should not endorse Trump

February 18. 2018 10:31PM

Jeanie Forrester has some explaining to do.

The chair of the New Hampshire Republican Party told Buzzfeed reporter Henry J. Gomez that she would be inclined to support President Donald Trump against any primary rivals in the 2020 New Hampshire Primary.

“My general thought is that he is the President, and I would support him,” Forrester said.

She then took to Twitter to reinforce the sentiment, “You’re darn right I would support @POTUS in 2020. And so would the @NHGOP.”

But it is not Forrester’s place to endorse any candidate in a primary. Perhaps Trump will draw a primary challenge, perhaps not. New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary requires that neither Forrester nor the state party take sides.

Our state’s reputation as a level playing field took enough of a hit in 2016 when the New Hampshire Democratic Party put both thumbs and several fingers on the scale for Hillary Clinton. Bernie Sanders trounced her anyway, though the fissures from that battle have not quite healed.

Republican party rules explicitly prevent Forrester from endorsing in contested primaries, even when incumbents are seeking re-election. New Hampshire welcomes all presidential candidates. None should believe the deck is stacked against them as they canvass across the Granite State.

Forrester should support Republicans in office. But that does not mean playing favorites in the New Hampshire Primary.

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