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Top N.E. Republicans to skip GOP convention

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke to an audience at a rally. Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

A few of New England’s top Republicans are planning to skip the national GOP convention this summer, eschewing what will likely be the party’s most contentious confab in decades.

If the current GOP front-runner, Donald Trump, fails to get enough delegates to secure the nomination, the Republican Party’s national convention could play host to a floor battle for the nod. Trump is one of the GOP’s most controversial national candidates in recent history, and Republicans skipping the convention in Cleveland say spending time with voters at home just makes more sense.

Governor Charlie Baker doesn’t plan on trekking to Ohio, according to his spokeswoman, Lizzy Guyton. Baker has criticized some of Trump’s more controversial comments and said he would not vote for the businessman in November if he’s the nominee.

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“The Legislature will be in session, and the administration will be closely monitoring several priorities as they move through the legislative process,” Guyton said this week in a statement.

US Senator Kelly Ayotte and US Representative Frank Guinta, both up for reelection this fall, plan to stay in New Hampshire during the convention.

Guinta's chief of staff, Jay Ruais, confirmed this week the congressman would not be attending.

“He is focused exclusively on the challenges facing New Hampshire, such as the heroin epidemic, the economy, and veterans health care,” Ruais said in a statement.

Ayotte recently told CNN that her attendance was “unlikely.”

“I’ve got a lot of work to do in New Hampshire, I have my own reelection, and I’m going to be focusing on my voters in New Hampshire,” she said.

Things are a little different in Maine.

US Senator Susan Collins’s press secretary said the Republican would be attending the national convention. Collins is one of the most politically moderate Republicans in Congress.

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Governor Paul LePage will probably attend the convention, but US Representative Bruce Poliquin hasn’t decided, said Brent Littlefield, a political adviser to both Maine Republicans.

As of Tuesday, LePage, a Trump supporter, was running to be a national convention delegate, Littlefield said. In Maine, all Republicans who want to be delegates must be elected at a statewide convention.

Poliquin is skipping those contests.

“Congressman Bruce Poliquin is focused on Maine issues from helping deal with the heroin epidemic to securing Maine jobs,” Littlefield said in a statement. “He will continue advocating for jobs and a balanced budget amendment . . . and does not need to also serve as a convention delegate to do so.”

Each state’s Republican Party has different rules for selecting delegates to the convention.


Akilah Johnson can be reached at akilah.johnson@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @akjohnson1922.