Karen Testerman, the gadfly Republican from her party’s far-right fringe, may have been voted out as county chair, but she refused to hand over the gavel at Wednesday night’s Merrimack County Republican Committee meeting at Alan’s of Boscawen.

So her fellow MCRC members voted 29-9 for a procedural move that stripped her of any authority, and the former chair fled the building. The county GOP promptly voted to replace her with former MCRC chair Scott Maltzie.

The meeting was closed to the press and public, but multiple sources familiar with the evening’s events confirmed them on background to NHJournal.

“Karen always keeps it classy,” one Republican source said of Testerman’s refusal to give up the gavel Wednesday night. She was removed from her chairmanship by the state GOP Executive Board in a 28-0 vote (with five abstentions) earlier this month.

Testerman showed up intending to chair the county meeting, claiming the state board’s vote was illegitimate. But she faced overwhelming opposition.

Part of that opposition is inspired by the costs to the GOP of her legal action against the party in a bizarre, longshot bid to change the rules of primary elections. She convinced a narrow majority of the MCRC to join her in a lawsuit demanding the First in the Nation presidential primary be open to registered Republicans only. The lawsuit names the NHGOP and its chairman, Chris Ager, as defendants.

The status of that lawsuit changed Wednesday night as the newly constituted committee voted to withdraw the MCRC from all of the legal actions against the state GOP taken during Testerman’s tenure. That includes her legal actions targeting Secretary of State David Scanlan, who made it clear Testerman’s scheme to close the primary didn’t pass legal muster.

Testerman insists the Executive Board had no standing to remove her.

“It has been my opinion, validated by Bylaws, etc. that the people elected the delegates and the nominees for the various positions in Merrimack County,” Testerman told NHJournal after Wednesday night’s meeting. “The delegates and the nominees then gather together to elect the members of the Merrimack County Republican Committee according to the formula set by the NHRSC. Those 35 members then elect their leadership. Leadership is not controlled by the NHRSC Chair.

“That sounds more like a dictatorship,” Testerman added.

It’s a claim contradicted by the NHGOP’s bylaws, which clearly state that party officials can be removed at will by a two-thirds vote of state committee or executive committee members. Testerman argues that she was entitled to five days’ notice by mail.

Wednesday’s vote confirms Testerman is no longer MCRC chair.

It’s hardly Testerman’s first loss.

On the eve of the primary, Testerman asked a judge to prevent ballots cast by undeclared voters from being included in the count until there is a ruling on her lawsuit. The court said no.

As a candidate in the 2020 GOP gubernatorial primary, failed to break double-digits against Gov. Chris Sununu. She lost her Franklin city council seat in the 2021 election. And she was trounced again in the 2022 Republican primary for governor.

Testerman’s MCRC loss is also a defeat for the far-right fringe of the state GOP that has long been antagonistic to Sununu — by far the most popular elected Republican in the state. Last week, Maltzie posted a tweet praising the state’s economic performance under Sununu, something Testerman never would have done.

“It was a mess, but we cleaned it up,” a GOP source told NHJournal. “It’s a step forward for party unity in an election year.”