- Associated Press - Saturday, June 4, 2016

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - Protecting New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary status and calls to unite behind Donald Trump emerged as themes of the day at the state Republican Party’s annual meeting.

Elected officials, party staff members and Republican activists from across New Hampshire gathered in Concord on Saturday to vote on bylaws and elect two representatives to the Republican National Committee.

Concord developer Steve Duprey won another four-year term as national committeeman and longtime party member Juliana Bergeron narrowly fended off a challenge to win a second term as national committeewoman.

Duprey and Bergeron both said they’re well positioned to defend New Hampshire from threats against its spot at the front of the presidential primary calendar. The RNC in July will set the calendar for the 2020 election, and a proposal to pair New Hampshire’s primary with Massachusetts’ is on the table.

“Fighting to preserve our first-in-the-nation primary and making sure New Hampshire has a loud and ever present voice at every single RNC meeting has been my mission,” Bergeron said.

Sharon Osborne, of Auburn, who is affiliated with the libertarian Free State Project, challenged Bergeron and lost by two votes.

Calls to unite around Trump as the presumptive Republican nominee came from Bergeron and several other party officials. Trump handily won New Hampshire’s primary but some party officials were slow to support his candidacy.

State Rep. Steve Stepanek, a prominent Trump backer, began the meeting by asking everyone to support Trump. Later in the day, party vice chairman Matt Mayberry made a similar appeal, saying: “We have to unite this ticket. We have to be one. We cannot be divided.”

No one at the meeting publicly criticized Trump or suggested Republicans shouldn’t back him.

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