They may have been competitors in the First Congressional District GOP primary, but now they are teaming up for their next political mission. Tim Baxter and Karoline Leavitt want to take over the New Hampshire Young Republicans (NHYR).
A statement from the two 2020 candidates obtained by NHJournal is headlined “Leavitt, Baxter Team Up to Takeover NH Young Republicans, Endorse Melissa Blasek as Chair.”
Blasek is a former assistant House majority leader from Merrimack who announced her candidacy two weeks ago.
“Today, Karoline Leavitt and Tim Baxter announced their candidacy for National Committeewoman and National Committeeman for the New Hampshire Young Republicans and endorsed former state Rep. Melissa Blasek for New Hampshire Young Republican Chair,” the two said in the statement.
“I am excited to team up with my former opponent and fellow young conservative, Tim Baxter, to strengthen the New Hampshire Young Republican organization,” said Leavitt. “As I said throughout my congressional campaign, the Republican Party will cease to exist if we fail to earn the support of Generation Z and Millennial voters.”
Leavitt won a surprising victory over a large field in the NH-01 primary last fall, then lost to incumbent Democrat Rep. Chris Pappas. Baxter finished fifth in the primary, running as an unapologetic libertarian touting the support of U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.)
“I’m thrilled to team up with Karoline to represent the New Hampshire Young Republicans,” Baxter said, “With Melissa Blasek as chair, we will work together to promote conservative principles amongst young voters in our state and across our country.”
Young voters have increasingly trended away from the GOP in the 21st century, data show. “The 2022 midterm was the fifth midterm in a row in which voters under 30 favored congressional Democrats,” Bloomberg reported. In a state with the highest per capita number of college students, Republicans need to make up ground, and an energized New Hampshire Young Republicans organization could help.
Baxter was just 24 when he ran last year, and Leavitt at 25 would have been the youngest woman ever elected to Congress if she had won. (Five men under age 25 have previously served.)
The state’s NHYR leadership has been in flux since January when vice chair Margaret “Annie” Kennedy took over as acting chair following the resignation of state Rep. Joe Alexander (R-Goffstown.) Virginia Drye of Plainfield was named the new vice chair, and she is running for the chair position against Blasek.
“I’m thrilled to have the support of two powerhouse voices in the young conservative movement in my bid for chair of the NHYRs,” Blasek said. “Together, we are going to work to bring young voters into the GOP fold.”
Alexander told NHJournal he was happy to see young Republicans looking for opportunities to lead.
“There were four candidates under the age of 40 in the 1st District primary alone, and there are many young Republicans in House leadership positions,” he noted. “I think these candidates for YR leadership could invigorate the organization and our party.”