The state GOP launched a new Republican women’s organization Monday with the goal of complementing the work of the existing New Hampshire Federation of Republican Women (NHFRW).

But privately, insiders say the newly-created New Hampshire Republican Women (NHRW) is an attempt by GOP women activists to get around what one called the “disaster” of the current NHFRW leadership, particularly the controversial legacy of former president Elizabeth Girard.

Girard’s leadership resulted in several members leaving or being kicked out of the volunteer organization, as well as a slew of embarrassing headlines from high-profile fights she picked with her fellow Republicans.

In a press release, the New Hampshire GOP announced, “This innovative group, known as Republican Women of New Hampshire (RWNH), is poised to identify, inform, and actively engage women across the state.”

The chair of the new RWNH is National Committeewoman-elect Mary Jane Beauregard, who defeated Girard for the post in a lopsided vote of the state GOP Committee.

“New Hampshire Republican Women have been playing a pivotal role since the passage of the 19th Amendment back in 1919,” Beauregard said in a statement. “The New Hampshire Republican State Committee recognizes the invaluable contributions of women in our party and is committed to supporting and encouraging their involvement. We believe that when women are empowered, we can achieve incredible things together, such as preserving freedom, limiting government, and creating unlimited opportunities for all.”

While there’s no mention of the NHFRW in the announcement, the list of founders includes several former members who either resigned in protest or, as in the case of state Rep.Tanya Donnelly, were kicked out by Girard or her hand-picked successor, Christine Peters.

Donnelly, who was removed as president of the Greater Salem NHFRW group, told NHJournal she’s part of the new organization to continue her advocacy. “I’m an advocate for women and have been since my twenties,” Donnelly said. “When I see incorrect behavior toward women, I’m going do what I can to support groups that wholeheartedly advocate for them.”

Girard made national headlines during the First in the Nation presidential primary season when she claimed a Gov. Ron DeSantis event scheduled the same day as the NHFRW Lilac Luncheon fundraiser with Donald Trump was an “unprecedented” breach of protocol. Girard’s claim was widely mocked as both untrue and an inappropriate act of candidate advocacy by a group whose leadership is supposed to be neutral in Republican primaries. At least two NHFRW members, Kate Day and Melissa Blasek, resigned over Girard’s actions.

Day is now a founder of the new NHRW organization.

“This new group is branding ourselves as for women of action,” Day told NHJournal. “We want to be involved in policy and legislation. We understand how important it is for our party to speak on issues important to women in ways that appeal to women voters.”

Asked about the relationship between the new organization and the NHFRW, Day insisted they are complimentary.

“I will continue to be a member of my local Cheshire County [NHFRW] group. Women are welcome to be part of both groups,” Day said. “It’s about adding to, not taking away.”

“And besides,” she added, “we’ve got enough ‘glamour shot’ politics already.”

Another founding member is former House Speaker Pro Tem Kim Rice, who was kicked out of the NHFRW despite her record as an elected Republican woman and a leader of the Nikki Haley presidential campaign in New Hampshire.

“Kim was helping run the campaign of the only woman in the [presidential] race, and they kick her out?” one GOP woman said in astonishment. “No wonder so many of us don’t want to work with the federation. It’s a joke.”

Girard created additional problems for the NHFRW when she appeared on stage at a Trump rally in Durham, N.H., and endorsed his candidacy while serving as president of the organization. Soon after, she resigned and joined the Trump campaign.

“Seacoast Republican Women reiterate their commitment to a non-endorsement policy in Republican primaries. We express deep disappointment in the actions of Elizabeth Girard, our NHFRW president and a member of our club, for abandoning the policies she has strictly upheld until they conflicted with her own personal agenda,” Seacoast Republican Women President Sayra DeVito said at the time.

DeVito was later kicked out of the NHFRW, and she is now one of the founders of the NHRW.

The other founders of the NHRW are:

  • Jessica Abbas
  • Janan Archibald
  • Maya Harvey
  • Jade Wood
  • Kimberly Allan
  • Rep. Jodi Nelson
  • Pamela Tucker

Former NHGOP Vice Chairwoman Tucker echoed the group’s importance as a way to inspire Republican women to get involved in New Hampshire politics. “Over the years, our Republican Party has diligently strived to inspire conservative women to pursue political office and assume leadership roles within our ranks,” she said in a statement.

“I am appreciative that this committee has come to fruition, and I extend my gratitude to the current NHGOP Chair, Chris Ager, for his willingness to collaborate and advance the establishment of this pivotal committee.”