HAMPTON — Republican state Rep. Phil Bean says the state GOP chairman should apologize or be removed for taking a jab this week at congressional candidate Chris Pappas' status as a restaurateur.
Bean, of Hampton, said this week NHGOP Chairman Wayne MacDonald was slanderous in stating Tuesday that Pappas, who owns the popular Puritan Backroom in Manchester, "inherited an already successful business, he did not create one." The statement came shortly after it was announced that Pappas had won the Democratic nomination for Congressional District 1 in Tuesday's primary.
MacDonald's remark was part of a statement that said Pappas "does not represent a change from the failed leadership and ideology offered by Carol Shea-Porter," who did not seek re-election to represent CD1. The statement came in an email blast with the subject line "Pappas Should Stick to Chicken Tenders."
Bean said via email he called NHGOP spokesman Joe Sweeney to say he wanted him to be fired for sending the message and that, "if GOP party chair does not fire Sweeney he should be removed."
"This is a slander against the hospitality industry and small business owners in NH that fund the NH GOP Chair salary and salary in his government job," Bean wrote. "Enough is enough. This is sickening."
Sweeney said Friday, "NHGOP stands by our statement on Chris Pappas," and that MacDonald would not comment further.
Bean, who has previously run for the N.H. House as an independent and has opposed conservative initiatives like right-to-work, has said he refuses to toe the GOP party line, and he faced criticism from other Republicans in the days before Tuesday's primary.
On Sept. 7, he received a letter from Brian Murphy of the Rockingham County Republican Committee questioning his endorsing state Rep. Mindi Messmer, D-Rye, for CD1 in Tuesday's primary "while still claiming the benefits of running as a Republican."
Bean defended his endorsement in an email Friday, saying Messmer's work on water quality has been on behalf of "dying children, sick children," as well as pointing out he endorsed Andy Sanborn in the Republican primary for CD1 earlier this year. He also questioned what benefits he was receiving, stating the former chairman of the Hampton Republican Committee had tried to primary him.
Fred Rice, the committee chairman at the time, said he encouraged as many Republicans to run this year for four seats representing Bean's House district, Rockingham District 21, though he added at the time it was not to primary Bean.
Bean said in his email response to Murphy he wants to meet with him and current Hampton Republican committee chairman Michael Zaino. Zaino said he would be happy to meet and plans to back all Republican candidates.