UPDATED, 8:30 P.M.: The Huffington Post's Jon Ward is reporting that New Hampshire Republican Party Chairman Jack Kimball will be notified Thursday that members of the party's executive committee will vote on whether to remove him at a Sept. 1 meeting.
Two sources in the state told the Huffington Post that at least 20 of the 36 committee members support removing Kimball. Only 19 are needed to do so. If Kimball is voted out, Ward reports, long-time Vice Chairman Wayne MacDonald would take over as chairman.
Also, just moments ago, the New Hampshire Republican Party issued a press release saying that Kimball will hold a press conference tomorrow at 11 a.m. at the Legislative Office Building in Concord. The release included no further details.
UPDATED, 5:30 P.M.: The NH Tea Party Coalition released a statement this afternoon on requests for Jack Kimball to resign:
"Regarding the regrettable situation where some are calling for State Party Chair Jack Kimball’s resignation, we have this to say:
Our relationship with the State GOP has always been, and remains, cordial but SEPARATE. We do not strive to overtake the GOP, nor do we seek to be absorbed by them. We continue to work on conservative issues of similar interest but only in parallel to the Party. While a tea party supporter from our group currently serves as Chair, he has not consulted with our organization since his election.
We also understand and respect the scope of the Chair’s duties, and the limitations of the State Party as outlined by the State Party bylaws and are not looking to interfere with that day-to-day process. We regret any difficulties the Chair has encountered. We hope that he will be able to sort out any conflicts that are preventing him from executing his duties. We have not declared ‘war’ with the GOP and hope all parties employed by that office can get to work doing the job they have been hired to do."
An earlier PATCH story on the controversy follows:
An "all out civil war is brewing in New Hampshire between establishment and TEA Party Republicans," according to an email fired off early this morning from a group calling itself the Granite State TEA Party.
The "establishment" fired the first shot, the anonymous group claims in defense of Republican State Committee Chairman Jack Kimball, who ran unsuccessfully for governor with great Tea Party gusto in the last election cycle. Kimball has rejected calls to resign for the good of the party with the eyes of America watching New Hampshire for its first-in-the-nation primary.
In an email this morning, a spokesperson for the Granite State TEA Party said it is a new group whose members prefer to remain anonymous due to "the recent targeting of Tea Party members by the establishment ..."
But Jane Aitken of the New Hampshire Tea Party Coalition said in an email this afternoon that the Granite State TEA Party "is not a member of our Coalition and does not speak for the almost 50 groups in it." She said her group will be issuing its own press release shortly.
Jerry DeLemus, chairman of the Granite State Patriots Liberty PAC originally founded by Kimball, said he had never heard of the Granite State TEA Party group. But he had similar thoughts about how the situation with Kimball -- which he referred to as a "conspiracy" -- has been handled.
“I’m really disturbed about this happening,” he said. “It’s wrong. It’s just wrong.
“Jack made some missteps, and I talked to him about those," DeLemus added. “He was new to the job, and that happens.”
But he said what has really disturbed him is how some in the Republican Party have worked to undermine Kimball by promising to withhold money from the Republican Governors Association if he doesn’t step down, as has been rumored.
“I find it really frustrating that somebody could use such poor judgment,” DeLemus said. “A conversation sould have been had with Jack about what we can do to help. If you want him out, ask him to resign, but don’t tie money into it.”
He said the only way for the New Hampshire GOP to move forward at this point is to get behind Kimball 100 percent and promise to work with him to get Republicans elected.
“Those who are blocking the efforts of Jack Kimball to be a success need to stop and get out of the way,” DeLemus said.
He also said he thinks House Speaker Bill O’Brien, Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Congressman Frank Guinta need to make amends with Kimball.
He said the whole affair could hurt Guinta, in particular, when he runs for re-election, as Rochester Tea Party members were key to helping him defeat Democrat Carol Shea-Porter in 2010.
“This type of behavior does not sit well with this group,” DeLemus said. “Until he straightens out and comes clean, he’s going to have lost some support.
Kimball is under fire after dismissing the state GOP's executive director, Will Wrobleski, and for apparently trying to help the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire get on the ballot.
The chairman has called a meeting of the executive committee Sept. 1 to address the issues, but the controversy is picking up steam. The back channels are notably busy, with key Republicans conferring among themselves and with Kimball, a businessman from Dover.
“We all make mistakes,” DeLemus said. “We just need to learn from it, then try to get back on the high road when we fall off.”