Campaign Report — The Final Senate Primary of 2022

New Hampshire Republican candidates for left-leaning U.S. Senate Bruce Fenton, Chuck Morse, Vikram Mansharamani, Kevin Smith and Don Bolduc participate in a debate, Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022, in Henniker, NH

Welcome to The Hill campaign report, follow everything related to the 2022 midterm elections. You can expect to receive this newsletter in your inbox every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday before the November elections.

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NH GOP picks who will challenge vulnerable Dems

Republicans say they have a chance of ousting Sen. Maggie Hassan (DN.H.) in November. But whether that’s true will depend on which candidate GOP voters choose tonight to face him.

A crowded field of candidates is vying for the party’s nomination on Tuesday, but the favorite appears to be Don Bolduc, a retired Army general who has accused the Republican New Hampshire governor of being a “Chinese communist sympathizer” and echoed former President Trump’s false claim that the 2020 election was stolen.

Bolduc’s leading position in the primary is raising concerns among some Republicans that New Hampshire’s Senate seat could slip out of reach if voters give it the green light on Tuesday. In a sign that senior GOP officials hope to rule him out, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu endorsed the nomination of state Senate President Chuck Morse last week.

“This time there is a real question, a concern that people like me have, that Governor Sununu has, that if we appoint Bolduc our chances of winning this seat are significantly reduced,” said Fergus Cullen, former president. of the New Hampshire GOP and a supporter of Morse, Caroline Vakil of The Hill told Monday.

A common theme: Bolduc isn’t the only GOP hopeful in the Senate who has sparked hand wringing among top Republicans. They expressed similar concerns about the party’s Senate candidates in states like Pennsylvania, Arizona and Georgia.

But with Democrats riding a fresh wave of enthusiasm over the past two months, Republicans are eager to keep the New Hampshire Senate race in play. The GOP needs to win just one seat this year. to regain control of the Senate, which means that neither party can afford to give ground.

That said, here are some other races we’re watching in New Hampshire:

NH-01 GOP primary: Matt Mowers and Karoline Leavitt are vying for the role of Trump’s sidekick in the nominating contest for New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District. Trump did not endorse the race, but both won support from top Republicans; House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) have endorsed the reapers, while Leavitt is backed by the likes of Sen. Ted Cruz ( R-Texas) and Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.). The winner will face Rep. Chris Pappas (DN.H.), who is among the nation’s most vulnerable House Democrats this year.

NH-02 GOP primary: Keene Mayor George Hansel takes on Hillsborough County Treasurer Robert Burns for the Republican nod to challenge Rep. Annie Kuster (DN.H.) in November. Hansel ran as the most eligible candidate, touting his pro-choice stance on abortion rights and hammering Kuster on issues like inflation. Burns, meanwhile, presents himself as a Trump loyalist. While that may help him among ultra-conservative GOP primary voters, it could make the general election race harder for Republicans. Kuster, like Pappas, is incredibly vulnerable this year. Cook’s non-partisan political report considers the two House seats as “tricks of the trade”.

Democrats miss the Reid machine

With Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) as the most vulnerable Senate Democrat, party leaders recognize that political muscle The late former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) once commissioned in Nevada could come in handy right now.

“There is no replacement for Harry,” Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Monday, according to The Hill’s Alex Bolton. “He was Mr. Nevada, and he knew how to make it work.”

A recent poll shows Cortez Masto hanging on in his race against his Republican opponent, former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, by only a narrow margin. A Republican Trafalgar Group survey found Laxalt leading it by nearly 3 percentage points.

Of course, Cortez Masto turned out to be a terrific fundraiser in its own right, and the political machine that Reid helped build over his decades in politics is still largely in place. But as Jon Ralston, CEO of The Nevada Independent and perhaps the state’s most respected political commentator, told Alex this week: “If you don’t have Harry Reid…you can’t collect so much money, and therefore you are handicapped to some extent.

Republicans are increasingly coming to see the Nevada Senate seat as perhaps their best pick-up opportunity this year, especially amid signs of trouble for their candidates in states like Arizona. And given that Democrats have appeared to be getting ahead in Pennsylvania, where Republicans are hoping to take the seat of retired Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), And may well have a fighting chance in Ohio , Cortez Masto might just be the GOP. best target.

MONITOR SURVEY

With just eight weeks to go until the midterm elections, Democratic and Republican voters are almost equally excited to vote in November. A Morning Consult-Politico poll published tuesday showed that 57% of Republicans and 56% of Democrats said they were extremely or very enthusiastic about voting midterm. A previous poll from Morning Consult and Politico indicates that Democrats have seriously made up for what was a clear enthusiasm deficit among their party members compared to Republicans.

A new Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll shared exclusively with The Hill also shows Democrats and Republicans voting neck and neck on a generic Congressional ballot. Fifty-one percent of registered voters surveyed said they would be more likely to vote for the Democratic nominee if the election were held today, compared to 49 percent who said the Republican.

MONITOR THE AD

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) released several ads targeting Reps. Cindy Axne (D-Iowa) and Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) and Democratic candidate Wiley Nickel in North Carolina, considered one of the seats the most competitive to enter this cycle.

The NRC has two advertisements, called “Hey you” and “Change,” seeking to tie Slotkin to President Biden and cast her as more loyal to the wealthy than to working-class voters. The committee ran a 30-second ad against Axne titled “A whole act” tying the Iowa Democrat to Biden and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) and slamming her for voting for the US bailout and the Cut Inflation Act. NRC also has an announcement titled “Call Wiley” targeting Nickel on its legal clients.

The House Democrats’ campaign arm ran a 30-second ad titled “Family” hits Republican candidate Sandy Smith in North Carolina’s 1st congressional district over allegations of abuse made by her daughter in 2012. Smith has denied the allegations.

That’s all for today. Thanks for reading and checking The Hill’s campaign page for the latest news and coverage. Until tomorrow.

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