Trump backers move to oust New Hampshire GOP chair

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CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Donald Trump's New Hampshire backers are trying to oust the state Republican Party's chairwoman for calling Trump's campaign shallow and saying he's unlikely to succeed in the first primary state.

Several state representatives backing Trump, including one who is paid by his campaign, are circulating a petition aimed at gathering the roughly 500-member state committee together for a vote to remove Jennifer Horn as chair. The petition says comments Horn made about Trump to the Boston Globe in late November violate party bylaws requiring her to remain neutral in primaries. Horn did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Asked in late November about Trump's campaign, Horn told the Globe, "shallow campaigns that depend on bombast and divisive rhetoric do not succeed in New Hampshire, and I don't expect that they will now."

She also said New Hampshire voters like to have real conversations with candidates. Trump's campaign holds mostly big rallies, and he rarely engages in the style of retail campaigning that most candidates pursue in New Hampshire.

Rep. Joshua Whitehouse, the Trump staffer who is circulating the petition, says it is not an effort by the Trump campaign. A Trump spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A state representative backing Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has also signed the petition.

Whitehouse says the group already has the 50 signatures required for a meeting to be called. The party's bylaws do not specify how soon a meeting must be called after a petition is submitted. It takes a two-thirds vote from either the full state committee or the 35-member executive committee to remove the chair.

The state Republican Party declined to comment.

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