Politics

National GOP scrambles to boost Chuck Morse ahead of N.H. primary

National Republicans are speeding to boost New Hampshire Senate president Chuck Morse within the GOP primary for U.S. Senate, fearing a loss to frontrunner Don Bolduc on Tuesday will imperil their probabilities of profitable a vital seat in November.

A political motion committee with ties to Senate GOP management is spending hundreds of thousands on adverts attacking Mr. Bolduc’s “crazy ideas,” whereas Republican Gov. Chris Sununu provided Mr. Morse a late endorsement Thursday that might rally impartial voters and consolidate the anti-Bolduc vote.

Mr. Morse may use the assistance.

He trailed Mr. Bolduc, a retired brigadier basic who lost a 2020 Senate primary, by 21 factors in a University of New Hampshire ballot launched in late August.

Mr. Bolduc has closely touted his Army expertise and signed a letter claiming that irregularities within the 2020 presidential election have been ignored. His newest adverts painting him as a political outsider who will struggle authorities mandates and convey down inflation.

His primary lead has institution Republicans anxious they’ll squander a winnable pickup in opposition to Sen. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat considered as susceptible within the basic election.

Already, the GOP is bemoaning the standard of candidates wanted to protect GOP seats in locations like Pennsylvania and Georgia as they struggle to tilt the stability in a Senate chamber break up 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie for Democrats.

“Bolduc did gain name ID among GOP primary voters from his previous run and having campaigned for now nearly 3 years, and he did get over 40% last time, so there is a base,” mentioned Fergus Cullen, a former chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party and a Morse supporter. “But voters have never been exposed to negative info about him before, he has no money of his own to defend himself, and his candidate skills remain very shaky. He will be pretty easy to caricature as a too-Trumpy-for-NH candidate unprepared for the office he’s seeking.”

Mr. Sununu upset Senate Republicans by passing on a Senate bid and opting to run for an additional time period as governor.

The governor’s endorsement of Mr. Morse won’t have a seismic impression however may assist Mr. Morse shut the hole in a primary that additionally contains entrepreneur Vikram Mansharamani, Bitcoin investor Bruce Fenton and former Londonderry Town Manager Kevin Smith.

The White Mountain PAC is spending over $4 million on adverts attacking Mr. Bolduc for criticizing Mr. Trump’s staff after his 2020 primary loss and tying him to Mr. Biden’s chaotic army withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“The pro-Morse ads, the Sununu endorsement, and Kevin Smith’s failure to become a player in this race — a surprise — means all the non-Bolduc vote could/should consolidate to Morse,” mentioned Mr. Cullen, who thinks the state Senate president can “pull this out.”

Likewise, the Morse marketing campaign insists it will possibly overtake Mr. Bolduc within the “poll that matters” on Tuesday.

“The gap is not that big,” Morse marketing campaign spokesman Joe Sweeney mentioned.

He mentioned the Bolduc marketing campaign doesn’t have the resources or group to pull off a win in opposition to the Democratic incumbent, particularly with the fast turnaround to the final race after a comparatively late primary.

“We have an operation, a field team, a full campaign staff and organization, multiple chairs in every county,” Mr. Sweeney mentioned. “There’s not going to be any delay in us taking the fight right to Maggie Hassan.”

Mr. Bolduc is leaning into his function as an outsider, saying New Hampshire voters aren’t all in favour of electing one other career politician amid post-pandemic shocks and inflation.

“The very people who caused all our problems are now standing in front of us asking for a vote. They’re asking us to elect them or reelect them. Hell no, we need to hold them accountable. Vote for a fighter. Vote for an outsider. Vote General Don Bolduc for U.S. Senate,” the most recent Bolduc advert says over scenes of empty cabinets, rising gas-pump costs and pictures of Ms. Hassan and President Biden.

One wild card is former President Donald Trump, who loves to play kingmaker however hasn’t made an endorsement on this primary. He could stay on the sidelines, although he praised Mr. Bolduc as a “strong guy, tough guy,” in a latest interview with conservative host John Fredericks, who helps Mr. Bolduc.

“I think he’s doing very well, too. I hear he’s up, he’s up quite a bit,” Mr. Trump informed Mr. Fredericks. “You’re involved in that race, it’s very interesting, and you’re for Bolduc. So, I’m going to remember that.”

Mr. Sununu has reportedly spoken to Mr. Trump concerning the race, too, suggesting there’s lobbying for Mr. Morse.

The newest adverts from teams aligned with Senate management hit Mr. Sununu for his gripes about Mr. Trump’s operation two years in the past and for dubbing Mr. Sununu a “Chinese Communist sympathizer.”

“Don Bolduc’s crazy ideas won’t help us defeat Maggie Hassan,” the most recent White Mountain PAC advert says.
The Hassan marketing campaign is relishing the primary dogfight on the opposite facet.

Following a Thursday evening debate amongst GOP contenders, the Hassan staff mentioned Mr. Morse is simply too excessive in limiting abortion — a difficulty that Democrats are highlighting after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade — and that Mr. Bolduc could be open to abolishing the FBI.

“There was one clear winner in the debate tonight, and it was Senator Maggie Hassan. The two leading frontrunners showed just how out of touch they are,” Hassan marketing campaign spokesman Kevin Donohue mentioned. “This primary has been a brutal battle between the establishment and outsider candidates, with everyone running to the right. After spending months attacking each other and pushing extreme policy positions, whoever emerges from this mess is already badly damaged.”

The Cook Political Report charges the final New Hampshire race as “lean Democrat,” which means it expects Ms. Hassan to edge out her opponent at this stage.

Mr. Cullen, who’s a Dover metropolis councilor, mentioned Ms. Hassan has been “invisible” on the neighborhood degree and deserves to be defeated.

“She has done nothing to distinguish herself. She is a shadow of Jeanne Shaheen,” mentioned Mr. Cullen, referring to New Hampshire’s different Democratic senator. “She’s just a vote in the Dem caucus.”

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