NHDP chairman, NHGOP adviser exchange charges ahead of private Republican fundraiser – WMUR Manchester

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A few hours before top Donald Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway was scheduled to appear at a private New Hampshire Republican Party fundraiser, the chairman of the state Democratic Party took aim at the decision to keep the media out.

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At a news conference, Raymond Buckley also criticized Gov. Chris Sununu for not joining with two other Republican New England governors in calling for an independent probe of possible ties between Trump and the Russians during the 2016 election.

NHGOP adviser Patrick Hynes pushed back, saying that Sununu is focusing on Granite Staters and charging that Buckley’s criticism show state Democrats “are in disarray,” which, he said, is “sad.”

Conway is scheduled to appear Thursday evening at the NHGOP’s “Spring to Victory” fundraiser at the Nashua Radisson Hotel. It was reported this week that the event will be closed to the media, and WMUR.com’s New Hampshire Primary Source column reported early Thursday it was a recent decision.

NHGOP Chair Jeanie Forrester said the decision to close the event “was mutually agreed on by everyone involved.”

As the column also reported, Forrester was at the White House on Thursday as part of a small group of party officials meeting with Trump. She was scheduled to fly back to New Hampshire with Conway in time for the fundraiser.

NH Democratic Party Chairman Raymond Buckley

Danny Ryan/WMUR

State Democratic Party Chairman Raymond Buckley

Buckley said he could not remember a major fundraising dinner of either party ever being closed to the media in New Hampshire.

“Suddenly, the Republicans have decided to change the rules of the game to protect their counselor to the president,” Buckley said. “It’s not out of character for this administration or Republicans in 2017.”

Buckley asked why the NHGOP is supporting “secrecy rather than transparency.”

“Could it be that they are embarrassed to defend and support President Trump publicly?” Buckley asked.

“This White House is developing a disturbing trend of shutting out the media,” he said.

“We’ve seen this kind of caginess from our own ‘mini-Trump,’ Gov. Sununu,” Buckley said, noting that that Sununu did not invite New Hampshire reporters to a recent trip to Quebec and did not inform New Hampshire reporters of a visit to Washington, which was paid for by leftover funds from his inaugural committee.

NHGOP Chair Jeanie Forrester

State Republican Party Chairman Jeanie Forrester

Buckley noted that Republican governors Charlie Baker of Massachusetts and Phil Scott of Vermont have called for an independent investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible Trump-Russia connections, while Sununu has not.

“That shows once again that Sununu is really much more interested in trying to have it both ways, by claiming that he’s not sidling up to the administration but in reality, the record is very clear that he is.”

NHGOP spokesman Hynes responded: “A significant majority of Granite Staters approve of the job Gov. Sununu is doing because they know he’s working to bring more and better-paying jobs to New Hampshire and pass a conservative, fiscally-responsible budget.”

“New Hampshire Democrats are in disarray,” Hynes said. “In New Hampshire, state representatives are leaving the party.”

And, referring to Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, and U.S. Reps. Carol Shea-Porter and Ann Kuster, Hynes said: “In Washington, Shaheen, Hassan, Shea-Porter and Kuster spend all their time placating the radical fringe of their party. It’s sad.”