Republicans seek to avoid mixed primary results in New Hampshire

The prospect that retired Army brigadier general Don Bolduc, who lost his seat in 2020, could win Tuesday’s election has sparked a frantic spending explosion from Republican groups trying to boost state Senate Speaker Chuck Morse. The top Republican has described Boldak as a “loose cannon” even by those closest to him, with little political organization or fundraising ability. It had raised less than $600,000.

What are the major issues in this race as it has been in national competitions Former President Donald Trump, by someone who has not yet approved it. But at the last minute, a group tied to the Senate Republican Party’s dominant super PAC, the Senate Leadership Fund, bought him about $4.5 million in airtime for the two weeks leading up to the primary. 1 attack ad, Leaning “crazy idea” Bolduc opposed Trump and New Hampshire Republican Governor Chris Sununu. The Democratic group, the Senate Majority PAC, responded by pouring his $3.2 million into ads attacking Morse. Whoever wins the primary must make a tough turn for the general election. And in anticipation of that turnaround, the Senate Leadership Fund announced last week that he plans to spend at least $23 million on television advertising in New Hampshire starting on primary day.

The surge in spending means that New Hampshire (once seen as a top pick until Mr. Sununu lost the election late last year) has seen its party plagued by a complex candidate who has shown little ability. It underscores Republican concerns that it could be the latest and last state to be sanctioned. In states where Biden won by seven points, it would be easier for Democrats to retain seats. An evenly divided Senate will put pressure on all races in this cycle. Her one seat is all the Republicans need to overthrow the House, and the stakes in each race are even higher in a changing political environment, especially when Republican candidates across the country struggle to raise money. .

“Nothing has broken the road in the national Senate election. will be part of that pattern,” said Fergus Cullen, former New Hampshire Republican Party chairman and Morse supporter. “It’s another challenge, one that will take defeat off the jaws of victory.”

Funding difficulties for Republican candidates have created scenarios in which outside groups and the National Republican Senate Committee have to spend more than expected to keep candidates alive in states such as Arizona, Ohio and Pennsylvania. .

“It’s a concern,” the top Republican operative working on the Senate campaign said of Bolduc’s fundraising struggles. If there are no well-funded candidates within the organization, there is not much that outside groups can do.”

With New Hampshire as a finalist for the Senate primary, Republicans are under pressure not only to pick candidates who can win, but who do not rely solely on the party’s infrastructure for funding.

This week can be very important. Candidates participate in his two debates. One is hosted by New England College on Wednesday and the other is hosted by local station WMUR on Thursday.

“He is not a serious candidate.”

The first blow to New Hampshire’s Republican Party came in November 2021 when Sununu declined to run for Senate. The decision comes after months of recruitment from top Republicans and has hit the party’s prospects of defeating Hassan.

With Sununu gone and high-profile candidates like former Senator Kerry Ayot passing, the primary became a subject of wide open controversy, with nearly a dozen Republicans running. The uncertainty has somewhat frozen Republican efforts to pick a winner in the race, allowing Bolduc to use his voter base from the first bid in 2020 to become a favorite in the contest, while other Republicans increased the regret of

“He’s not a serious candidate. He’s really not,” Sununu told WGIR in August. “If he were a candidate, it would definitely be difficult to try to steal the seat. So I don’t take him seriously as a candidate. I don’t think most people do.”

Bolduc has made Sununu one of its top running targets. Although he retracted some of his rhetoric about governors, he argued without evidence In 2021, Sununu is a “communist supporter” and the governor’s family, who have been involved in New Hampshire politics for decades, “support terrorism.”
Sununu has called Bolduc was “a sort of conspiracy theorist type” and refused to endorse him.

Bolduc was not an established favorite. He ran a surprisingly strong primary against Republican Corky Messner’s 2020 take on Democratic Senator Jeanne Chaheen. And when the primary ended and Messner won, Bolduc lashed out at the newly minted candidate, angering the top Republican in the state and offering it to the Democrats. It features a wealth of videos to use in your attack ads.

Bolduc consultant Rick Wiley refuted narratives that a retired general could not defeat Hassan.

“They don’t know what they’re talking about,” Wiley said of people discrediting Bolduc. His ability to connect with voters is something I haven’t seen in a long time.”

Wylie and Bolduc’s campaigns are also furious that Republicans are coming to Morse’s aid ahead of Tuesday’s primary, with Wylie “should spend the money[defeating]Maggie Hassan.” It has said.

Democrats have gleefully watched the confused Republican primary in the hope that it will only strengthen Hassan’s position.

Hassan’s campaign manager, Aaron Jacobs, said in the memo that the Republican Party “is embroiled in a divisive primary election, but Hassan was able to advertise a year before the September 2021 primary, and the election will continue.” It could stockpile millions of people who would later be trained for the Republican Party. Major.” According to Hassan’s pre-primary reports, she had more than $7.3 million in the bank and was a TV star. It has already aired $9.5 million in advertising.

“With New Hampshire holding its latest primary election in the country, Bolduc and Morse will have little time to attempt a so-called pivot to the general election and will instead be defined by an extreme record,” Jacobs wrote. increase.

Like Democrats across the country, Hassan’s campaign has made abortion central to the race, hoping to seize the energy that has propelled the party following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in June. I am planning to make it a big problem. New Hampshire is one of the most supportive abortion rights states in the country, according to a series of surveys, which may reinforce Hassan’s message.

Hassan spokesperson Sidney Petersen said: “The anti-selection record of Republican opponents will be a huge responsibility for voters in New Hampshire, which has a long history of supporting reproductive rights at the ballot box.

Will Trump intervene late?

Trump has not endorsed the election. Part of the reason is that his former aide, Corey Lewandowski, worked behind the scenes to keep Bolduc from getting endorsements from the former president.

But that hasn’t stopped Trump from praising the retired general, including in a recent interview with John Fredericks, a conservative radio host who supports Bolduc.

“He said great things. Strong guy, tough guy. I think he’s doing very well too. I hear he’s doing fine. He’s doing pretty well,” Trump told Fredericks. . “You’re in that race. It’s very interesting. You’re for Boldac. So I remember that.”

Trump also called Sununu last week to discuss, among other things, the state’s Senate election. The conversation is a little strange. Sununu, who is running for re-election as governor, is an outspoken Trump critic and called the former president “crazy” in a comedic remark in April.

“President Trump called Gov. Sununu and the Senate election came up as part of a larger conservation effort,” said Ben Bishtat, spokesman for Sununu. “The governor advised the president to consider a senate election.”

Trump wants to form a Republican contest to help pass thorny primaries, backing candidates like Mehmet Oz of Pennsylvania and Blake Masters of Arizona. are revealed throughout the cycle.

Some Republican operatives in New Hampshire believe Trump’s endorsement could be important. “Donald Trump is still a very influential member of this party, if not its leader. said Josh McElveen of If Trump runs for president again in 2024, Bolduc could backfire on Trump, especially given Granite State’s importance in the race for the presidential nomination.

A senior Republican in the state called Trump’s endorsement “very important.” “But if I were to advise Trump, I would tell him to stay away because he’s not going to make any friends here.”

But the same University of New Hampshire poll that found Bolduc leading in the primary also found that Sununu and Trump’s support had equal weight for voters: 35% of voters in the New Hampshire Republican primary. say that Sununu’s endorsement supports them. likely to vote for the candidate,” and 36% said yes about Trump support.

But that number increased among undecided primary voters, with 41% of voters who hadn’t yet chosen a candidate said Trump’s endorsement would make them “more likely” to vote for that candidate. .


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