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March 18. 2013 10:21PM

GOP report seen as positive for Granite State

Two prominent New Hampshire Republicans were pleased with a harsh self-evaluation of the GOP's loss in the 2012 general election and recommendations on how to avoid repeating its mistakes.

Although the report released Monday suggests a revamped and shorter primary season, it leaves New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary right where Granite State voters and election officials have worked to keep it.

"We're a carve-out state and it doesn't do anything to change that status," said Tom Rath, former New Hampshire attorney general.

Rath spent 10 years as a member of the Republican National Committee and was pleased with the outcome of the RNC's "autopsy" of the 2012 campaign, in which GOP nominee Mitt Romney failed to unseat President Barack Obama.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus will be facing plenty of questions at the Republican spring meeting in Los Angeles next month about what changes are needed for the GOP as 2016 approaches.

Rath said it could get bitter as different party factions try to agree what is the best way forward, but it doesn't have to be overwhelmingly complicated.

"We're not talking about the Constitution of the United States. These are the principles of the party. These are sort of the nuts and bolts of how the party works," Rath said. "Quite honestly, we didn't do very well this last time. I think that really justifies an attempt the chairman is making to understand how we can be better. I think this is a good time to do it.

Republican National Committeeman Steve Duprey of New Hampshire said the Granite State's first-primary status is safe.

"The report recognizes the importance of having the four carve-out states - Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada - keep their early places in the process," Duprey said.

Duprey also supported the report's suggestion that the primary campaign should be shortened.

"I do agree we spread it out too long," Duprey said. "The goal is to make sure it is long enough so that less well-funded candidates have a shot to be competitive. It should also provide time to make sure we vet these candidates well and that anybody who stumbles early has a chance to recover. But if it goes on too long, it turns to fratricide, and that helps nobody."

dalden@unionleader.com

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