Friday, September 30

New Hampshire Republicans vie to take on Maggie Hassan, a GOP target in November

Voters in New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Delaware will go to the polls on Tuesday in the last primaries of the 2022 midterm cycle. 

The biggest race will be in New Hampshire, where Republicans are aggressively targeting Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan. The Republican primary to take her on is centered around two candidates: New Hampshire Senate President Chuck Morse and veteran and political newcomer Don Bolduc. 

Other New Hampshire Democrats are also seen as vulnerable, including Rep. Chris Pappas of the 1st District. Former Trump aide Karoline Leavitt and Matt Mowers, who is backed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, are vying to take on Pappas in November. 

Here are the races to watch: 

U.S. Senate, New Hampshire

Democrats see Bolduc as the preferred candidate against Hassan, due to his further right stances on the 2020 election, calls to “get rid” of the FBI and frequent criticism of popular moderate GOP Governor Chris Sununu. Sununu has backed Morse and called Bolduc a “conspiracy theorist.”

Bolduc has been the frontrunner in the race and led by more than 20 points in a University of New Hampshire poll that came out in late August. Former President Donald Trump hasn’t endorsed either candidate. 

The Democratic Senate Majority PAC has spent millions on an ad to take down Morse, calling him “another sleazy politician” and saying Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s “Washington establishment” is going “all in” for Morse. On the opposite side, a “dark money” group that has ties to McConnell, the White Mountain PAC, has spent millions on ads to take down Bolduc. The GOP Senate Leadership Fund is also active in this race, but for the general. The group has committed $23 million on ads against Hassan, with their first airing on primary day. 

Election 2022 What to Watch
New Hampshire Republican U.S. Senate candidates from left Bruce Fenton, Chuck Morse, Vikram Mansharamani, Kevin Smith, and Don Bolduc participate in a debate, Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022, in Henniker, N.H. New Hampshire will hold its primary on Tuesday, Sept. 13.

Mary Schwalm / AP


Hassan, a former governor, was first elected in 2016, flipping the seat from Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte, one of only two Democratic flips in that cycle. Hillary Clinton won the state in 2016 by just over a point, and although Trump targeted it aggressively in 2020, the state went for President Joe Biden by 7 points in 2020. 

The state’s other Democratic senator, Jeanne Shaheen, won reelection by 15 points in 2020. 

U.S. House, New Hampshire 

Democratic Rep. Chris Pappas of New Hampshire’s 1st District is one of the more vulnerable House Democrats this cycle, but he may benefit from a divisive, and late, GOP primary. Former Trump aide Karoline Leavitt could make history this November if she wins and becomes the youngest Congresswoman in history. Leavitt has been backed by House GOP Chair Rep. Elise Stefanik, and has campaigned with other notable Republicans such as Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Lauren Boebert. 

But Leavitt will first have to defeat fellow Republican Matt Mowers, the 2020 candidate who lost narrowly to Pappas, in the primary. In addition to McCarthy’s backing, Mowers has benefitted in spending from the main House GOP outside group, the Congressional Leadership Fund. 

There’s a third candidate in the race, Gail Huff Brown, the wife of former moderate GOP Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts. She ran an ad defending the choice of abortion in New Hampshire, saying she will “protect the New Hampshire law and the choice that it guarantees.”

Election 2022 New Hampshire
New Hampshire Republican 1st Congressional District Candidates from left Gail Huff-Brown, Matt Mowers, Russell Prescott, Tim Baxter, and Karoline Leavitt, participate during a debate, Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022, in Henniker, N.H.

Mary Schwalm / AP


In the primary to take on Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster, Sununu has backed mayor George Hansel. One of his opponents, Bob Burns, has benefitted from Democratic spending, another sign of Democrats looking to prop up their preferred candidate in November. “Meet Bob Burns, the ultra-conservative candidate for Congress,” says an ad from the “Democrats Serve” group.  

Rhode Island Governor Democratic primary

Incumbent Democratic Governor Dan McKee, who took over after then-Governor Gina Raimondo left for her White House position, does not have a clear path to victory in the Democratic primary on Tuesday. He has four challengers, and in an August WPRI poll was only leading by 3 points. Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea was found at second in the poll, and former health executive Helena Foulkes was at third. If Gorbea ends up pulling off the upset, she would be the state’s first Latina governor. 

Rhode Island’s 2nd Democratic primary

There is a crowded Democratic primary to fill the seat of retiring Democratic Rep. Jim Langevin. Rhode Island Treasurer Seth Magaziner is the frontrunner and has led in fundraising, but he has five challengers on Tuesday. Former state Rep. David Segal and Commerce Department lawyer Sarah Morgenthau are the two nearest fundraisers in the primary, with Morgenthau arguing it’s time for the state to have its first Democratic woman in Congress. 

The winner will face Republican Allan Fung, the former mayor of Cranston, Rhode Island, and a candidate national Republicans are bullish on to make this race competitive. 



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