NHGOP Chair Chris Ager’s first major move – the nomination of a National Committeeman to replace him – failed at Monday’s State Party Executive Committee meeting, NHJournal has learned. Ager’s pick?

Corey Lewandowski.

Serving as Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign manager, Lewandowski gained a national profile along with some negative press. Though he is still part of Trump’s circle, he has been more circumspect about the 2024 race. He has also advised South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, another potential 2024 candidate.

Lewandowski’s backers say his qualifications more than outweigh the controversies, arguing the money and connections Lewandowski has nationwide would help turn the state party into a “professional” outfit.

“We ripped up a $500,000 check,” a supportive party official told NHJournal, alluding to Lewandowski’s fundraising prowess. “It’s like we don’t want to win.”

“That’s staff, infrastructure, voter contacts. That’s real money.”

Ager left the RNC Committeeman position when he became GOP state party chair. The appointment of his replacement, if passed, would last until next January when the state party holds its next annual meeting. At that point, the state committee will elect both the RNC Committeeman and Committeewoman for the next four-year term. The national RNC only has two scheduled meetings between now and then in April and August.

And, while Democrats push forward with their plan to move New Hampshire out of the First in the Nation presidential primary slot, the RNC adopted rules in 2022 to keep the early states in the same order with the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada primaries. In his opening speech as chair, Ager assured the GOP that work was already underway to secure it for 2028 as well.

Despite the failed nomination, Ager contends Lewandowski is still the best man for the job.

“The committeeman needs to do two things: Raise money and protect First in the Nation. That’s the job description. Corey Lewandowski is uniquely qualified to do both,” Ager told NHJournal.

“After a long and thoughtful discussion, the board decided it wasn’t the direction they wanted to go. Two-thirds was always going to be a high bar, but I believe Corey’s qualifications are superb.”

RNC Committeewoman Juliana Bergeron, who backed Lou Gargiulo over Ager for chair, was among the Lewandowski opponents. “Corey’s a man’s man,” she told the committee sarcastically, pointing out the litany of allegations made against him in recent years.

Supporters said Lewandowski was a pragmatic pick.

“If you’re going to a mud fight, you don’t bring a horse. You bring a pig,” one supporter said, emphasizing the outcome is to win in November 2024 and to beat the Democrats.

The NHGOP’s Executive Committee next meets on March 20. According to the bylaws, the Chairman can make the same or another nomination at that meeting. Two-thirds of the 39 members would be required to approve any nomination.