Arjun Singh on September 12, 2022
New Hampshire will hold the last Senate primary before the 2022 midterm elections on Tuesday, with the contest influencing whether Republicans will control Congress next session.
New Hampshire’s Senate race has captured the most attention, with the GOP vying to defeat Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan, a first-term incumbent who won in 2016 by less than 1,000 votes and is seen as a “vulnerable” incumbent by Republicans. But her likely Republican opponent, Don Bolduc, could prove controversial in the blue state.
The Republican Senate primary in which Bolduc is competing has been described by Politico as damaging to the party.Bolduc, a retired U.S. Army Brigadier General and the current frontrunner, is seen by some Republicans as too populist – á la former President Donald Trump – to win a general election. Bolduc has embraced Trump (who did not make an endorsement in the race) and suggested that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. He also made comments disparaging the COVID-19 vaccine before later getting vaccinated himself.
New Hampshire’s popular Republican Gov. Chris Sununu has called Bolduc a “conspiracy-theorist type candidate” and endorsed New Hampshire State Senate President Chuck Morse, who currently trails Bolduc by over 20-points (i.e., 22% to Bolduc’s 43%), according to the University of New Hampshire Survey Center. Morse has also been supported by White Mountain PAC, which has ties to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and has spent $4.6 million on his campaign.
Bolduc, by contrast, had spent just $527,000 by the end of August. However, his candidacy is being supported by Senate Majority PAC, a Democratic-aligned group, which has spent $3 million to attack Morse. Observers claim that Democrats are seeking to aid Bolduc’s path to the nomination, believing him an easy opponent for Hassan – a move that was criticized by Republicans as hypocritical given President Joe Biden’s warnings to voters against electing “MAGA Republican” candidates in recent speeches.
“Bolduc would have real weaknesses as a general election candidate,” said Christopher Galdieri, a political scientist at St. Anselm College, to U.S. News. “He’s alienated Sununu and much of the state party leadership, he’s an active election denier, and he has a real problem raising money.”
Sununu, for his part, appears likely to prevail in the GOP gubernatorial primary as well as the November general election. He currently leads Democratic State Sen. Tom Sherman by 19%, per a recent St. Anslem College poll. Sununu, a three-term governor, is the son of former Gov. John H. Sununu and brother of former Sen. John E. Sununu. Despite heavy efforts to recruit him as a candidate, Sununu declined to run for the Senate against Hassan, whom a St. Anslem College poll showed him beating 46% to 41%.
The Bolduc, Morse and Sununu campaigns did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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