Don Bolduc wins New Hampshire’s GOP Senate primary, NBC News projects

Don Bolduc, a self-styled political outsider, has won the Republican US Senate nomination from New Hampshire, NBC News projects, overcoming a push by the GOP establishment to elevate state Senate President Chuck Morse. .

Bolduc will face Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan, who was easily re-nominated on Tuesday, in what is expected to be one of the marquee matchups of the fall.

With less than two months until the general election, Hassan begins with a commanding cash advantage. According to the campaign finance report, it reported $7.3 million at the end of August. Bolduc reported $84,000.

The primary – the last major contest before the November midterm elections – had become a national battleground, with external money from both parties flowing into a state that could dictate partisan control of the Senate.

Although there were other candidates, the GOP battle turned into a confrontation between an insider and an outsider. Morse, a longtime state legislator, had support from Gov. Chris Sununu and more than $4 million in air cover from a group in Washington, D.C. regarding the founding of Republicans.

Bolduc, a retired Army Brigadier General, has more ties to a right-wing base. He has a reputation for promoting provocative rhetoric and 2020 election conspiracies. Despite his little-funded campaign, Bolduc had a Democratic group doing its dirty work, tagging Morse as a yes-man for Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell for $3 million during the primary. which was a villain to many Republicans loyal to former President Donald. Trump. Voting in the final weeks showed Bolduc comfortably ahead.

“Our campaign overcame barriers and millions of dollars in spending from outside special interest groups as we built a true bottom-line campaign,” Bolduc said in a statement. Statement,

Republican Senate candidates Chuck Morse, left, and Don Bolduc attend a Republican primary debate on September 7, 2022 in Heniker, NHMary Schwalm / AP

lamps Overnight on Twitter, Morse said the focus should be on defeating Hassan in the fall.

Hassan called Bolduk “just too extreme” for the state in a statement.

“This campaign will be a stark contrast between my record for the people of New Hampshire and the radical, backward-looking agenda of Don Bolduc,” she said.

Sununu, who is seeking a two-year term for the fourth consecutive term as governor, was re-nominated to NBC News Projects on Tuesday. He will face State Senator Tom Sherman, who was unopposed in the Democratic primary in the general election.

Meanwhile, in the GOP primary for New Hampshire’s first congressional district, NBC News projects, Carolyn Levitt, a former Trump White House aide, has defeated Matt Mavers, who worked for Trump’s State Department and won this election in 2020. was the party’s candidate for the seat. Face Democratic Rep. Chris Pappas in November. Hillsborough County Treasurer Robert Burns won the GOP primary for New Hampshire’s second congressional district, NBC News estimated Wednesday. She will face Democratic Rep. Ann Custer.

Delaware and Rhode Island held primaries on Tuesday, along with several state and federal races. President Joe Biden, who owns a house in Delaware, made a last-minute trip to the state Tuesday evening to vote.

Although Bolduc enters the general election campaign as the underdog, an August poll by St Anselm College found that the majority of voters disapprove of Hassan’s performance, suggesting vulnerability. And on a national level, both parties see New Hampshire as the top-tier race this fall.

As of Tuesday, Haasan and One Nation, a Republican group that has run ads criticizing him, were the biggest ad buyers in the Senate race, with $9.8 million each, according to AdImpact, an ad-tracking firm. Morse spent about $821,000 on advertisements, Bolduc about $14,500.

This should not have been the case for Republicans. Sununu, a popular and relatively moderate governor whose family is well known in state and national politics, was a top recruiting target for McConnell and thought seriously about running. But Sunanu passed, leaving the GOP without any heavy contenders. Meanwhile, Bolduc had name recognition from his failed run in the 2020 Senate primary — and he didn’t really stop running for the job after that.

“I’ve been campaigning for two years,” Bolduc said in a debate last week. “In these two years, I have visited every town and city. I know you’re hurting. I share it with you. I know you are paying way too much for everything. I will go to Washington, DC as your ambassador to work hard to change this. I’ll give you a voice – a voice you no longer have.”

Bolduc organizes more than 50 town hall-style events, said his senior advisor, Rick Wiley.

“We’re doing little things with little money — but that’s it, it’s the hustle,” Willie said.

Morse had relied on his experience, returning to the debate on his work on specific legislation. Sununu’s endorsement, released on Thursday, may have been too late, but Morse came out heavily in the final debate of candidates before the primaries that night.

“I am honored to have the support of Government Chris Sununu,” he said. “As Senate Speaker, I worked with the governor to deliver the most conservative budget in state history.”

Trump, despite going to other major primaries this year, stayed out of New Hampshire – even as Republicans there urged him to take sides. Bolduc was seen as the candidate most closely associated with the Trump movement. He has called Trump’s critic Sununu a “Chinese Communist sympathizer”. He has dismissed claims that voter fraud costs Trump his re-election. And he questioned the need for the FBI after the agency searched Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home. But Bolduc has also been critical of the former president, namely in 2020, when he accused Trump’s political operations of “rigging” him by endorsing Corky Messner, the final candidate in that year’s Senate primary.

Morse presented himself as a more traditional fiscal conservative and did not succumb to the election-denial conspiracy theories of other Trump allies. After a debate last week, he told reporters he wouldn’t mind proofing Biden’s victory.

Another Republican seeking the nomination, former Londonderry city manager Kevin Smith, observed last week that the race had become a binary option for many Republicans.

“Chuck Schumer, he’s gone for Don Bolduc with millions of dollars, because we know he’s the weakest candidate to take on Maggie Hassan,” Smith said on a television show. The GOP debate is referring to the Senate Democratic leader, whose coalition Super Pac is spending money on anti-Morse ads.

“So, if you want six more years of Mitch McConnell, well, vote for Chuck Morse,” Smith said. “If you want six more years of Maggie Hassan, vote for Don Bolduc.”

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