CONCORD, N.H. — The power struggle growing out of Republican Shawn Jasper’s election to speaker – made possible by Democratic support – is on full display in New Hampshire’s House of Representatives in ways both serious and seemingly silly.

The new legislative session opened Wednesday with Rep. Bill O’Brien, the original Republican choice for speaker, attempting to change House rules so he could become majority leader. O’Brien had already tried to change the rules ahead of the December speaker vote by demanding every lawmaker’s vote be made public, instead of the traditional anonymous tally. Both efforts failed and O’Brien now plans to open his own office across the street to operate independently of Jasper’s appointed leadership team.

Jasper, for his part, has taken O’Brien supporters off committees they previously served on and has banished O’Brien’s most vocal backers to the House’s worst seats – in the middle of the middle section of the chamber. That forces them to climb over one another every time they wish to speak. The antics have many representatives calling for a return to civility.

“I’m trying to do the best job for my constituents – it’s just another layer of baloney that I have to deal with,” said freshman Rep. Ann Howe of East Hampstead, an O’Brien backer.

If the divide continues, it could be difficult for Republicans to cobble together the necessary majority to pass legislation without help from Democrats. Republicans hold 239 seats in the 400-member chamber and the Jasper-O’Brien factions are split right down the middle. Jasper insists policy goals among the two groups aren’t that different.

“Regardless of who people think ought to be the speaker or who people think ought to be the majority leader, they’ll recognize that we’re all voting the same way on the same bills,” Jasper said.

But O’Brien says Jasper and his team aren’t taking a strong enough stand on two key Republican issues: Right to work and repealing Medicaid expansion. Jasper counters that he won’t waste political capital on issues he knows Gov. Maggie Hassan will veto and may not even pass the Senate. O’Brien sees it differently.

“The people in my district, the people in other districts who voted for Republicans didn’t say, ‘Go up there and if you can get Governor Hassan’s permission will you do the following things?”‘ O’Brien said.

O’Brien is now raising money to rent office space across the street from the Statehouse where he and his own appointed leadership team will meet to discuss policy and mentor new lawmakers.

Thirteen vocal O’Brien backers seated in a single row in the House refer to the seating arrangement as “Murderer’s Row,” a reference to the 1920s New York Yankees lineup of sluggers. Right in the center is Rep. Al Baldasaro of Londonderry, who says he doesn’t respect or recognize Jasper’s leadership. Every time Baldasaro, a disabled veteran, wants to speak on the floor, his fellow O’Brien supporters will have to file out of their seats to let him through.

O’Brien’s backers, meanwhile, have taken to speaking out against Jasper on social media and buying website domains based on Jasper’s name that link to a conservative blog that posts negative stories about him.

There’s a broader worry: Continued sparring could shower negative attention on the state as the national political spotlight shifts to New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary.

“There’s a common interest in preserving the New Hampshire primary and part of that preservation effort is to make the environment in New Hampshire as welcoming as possible to presidential candidates,” said Dante Scala, associate professor of political science at the University of New Hampshire. “In order to do that, you don’t want candidates to feel as if they’re walking into a trap.”