NH Republicans cite contrasts, safety at RNC

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NH GOP Chairman Stephen Stepanek in Manchester. Credit/Andrew Sylvia

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The 2020 Republican National Convention has begun, and the leadership of New Hampshire’s Republican Party is on the scene.

In a conference call on Monday, New Hampshire GOP Chair Steve Stepanek, New Hampshire GOP Vice Chair Pam Tucker, New Hampshire Republican National Committeeman Chris Ager and New Hampshire Republican National Committee Delegate Eddie Edwards expressed their excitement over the atmosphere they are seeing in Charlotte among Republican leaders gathered to support President Donald Trump.

According to Stepanek, just under 500 people are at the convention, compared to over 25,000 at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Stepanek said that a COVID test was required of everyone attending the convention prior to departure, with another test on arrival and daily temperature checks for participants as well.

In contrast, the Democratic National Convention had no delegates attend in person at their convention last week in Milwaukee, with the New Hampshire Democratic Party explaining that their philosophy was one of not putting others at undue risk of contracting COVID-19 as well as providing convenience to those looking participate in the convention at home.

For Edwards, the difference between the two conventions is less about safety as much as it is about the difference between Trump and Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden.

“The energy here is totally different because we have a president who is very exciting. They want to see him; they want to hear from him directly. That is excitement you can’t buy,” said Edwards. “In contrast (Biden) is someone who has served in Washington for 50 years and hasn’t brought the change that people have been craving. If the Democratic National Committee was interested in it, they could have provided that, (but) people are not interested in connecting with Joe Biden.”

The NH GOP leaders also shrugged off any criticism of the convention, or Trump’s planned visit to New Hampshire on Friday as a COVID-19 “super spreader” event, citing what they saw as a lack of comparable criticism for Black Lives Matter protests occurring across the country in the same light.

“It’s okay to have massive protests and nobody is concerned about an increase in COVID cases, but somehow a rally by the president is an evil thing,” said Stepanek. “If the protests can occur safely, so can a rally by the president.”

In late July, the New Hampshire Democratic Party filed a right-to-know request regarding New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu’s role in Trump’s originally planned visit to Portsmouth after hearing that New Hampshire State Epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan had not been consulted in regard to safety at the event. Prior to and after Trump’s eventually cancelled rally, Chan had been consulted for other large-scale events elsewhere in the state.

“The only double standard is the one where Trump and Sununu’s donors get to do whatever they want while Granite Staters are forced to play by the rules,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Spokesperson Michael Beyer.

About this Author


Andrew Sylvia

Assistant EditorManchester Ink Link

Born and raised in the Granite State, Andrew Sylvia has written approximately 10,000 pieces over his career for outlets across Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. On top of that, he's a licensed notary and licensed to sell property, casualty and life insurance, he's been a USSF trained youth soccer and futsal referee for the past six years and he can name over 60 national flags in under 60 seconds according to that flag game app he has on his phone, which makes sense because he also has a bachelor's degree in geography (like Michael Jordan). He can also type over 100 words a minute on a good day.