MAGA champion and retired brigadier general Don Bolduc appears to have won the New Hampshire GOP Senate primary Tuesday, after moderate Republican candidate and president of the state senate Chuck Morse conceded early Wednesday.
As of 8 a.m., Bolduc held a narrow 1,200 vote lead over Morse, though the Associated Press had yet to call the race.
A supporter of former president Donald Trump, Bolduc doubled down on his 2020 election denial at a recent debate, insisting that the outcome was fraudulent. Outraged by the FBI’s surprise raid of Trump’s Florida residence on the grounds that he mishandled government records, Bolduc said he was open to abolishing the agency.
Bolduc served in the U.S. Army for 33 years and deployed to Afghanistan after the September 11 terrorist attacks. He first sought the Republican nomination for Senate in 2020, which he failed to secure, and then ran again this year. He decried the Biden administration’s haphazard withdrawal from Afghanistan last year as a disaster and a military embarrassment.
Bolduc has targeted Republican New Hampshire governor Chris Sununu on the campaign trail, last year calling him a “Communist Chinese sympathizer.” Sununu has been unconvinced that Bolduc is a competitive candidate to beat incumbent Democratic senator Maggie Hassan in the fall.
“He’s not a serious candidate, he’s really not, and if he were the GOP nominee I have no doubt we would have a much harder time,” Sununu said of Bolduc on WGIR radio last month. “He’s kind of a conspiracy theorist–type candidate.”
Democrats apparently agree with Sununu, choosing to dump money and marketing into bolstering Bolduc, who they seem to believe would be a less formidable adversary for Hassan than Morse.
While Republican Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell’s PAC poured $4.5 million into the Morse campaign, Democratic Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer’s PAC invested $3.1 million in the Bolduc campaign, according to Politico.
Similar to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s ad support for Trump-backed contender John Gibbs in Michigan’s GOP House primary battle, Democrats dropped a MAGA-style ad criticizing Morse as a puppet of the “McConnell establishment” and a sell-out to lobbyists. “Chuck Morse, another sleazy politician,” it declares.
Polling from April conducted by the University of New Hampshire is a warning sign for Republicans who rallied behind Bolduc. It projected that Hassan would win by one percent against Bolduc and lose by two percent against Morse in hypothetical matchups for the November general election. Hassan easily swept her primary Tuesday. However, with just a 35 percent approval rating, Hassan is considered one of the most vulnerable members of the evenly divided Senate.
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