The reviews are in for the campaign rollouts of the "B-tier" Republican Senate candidates Kevin Smith and Chuck Morse, and they're… not great. Already facing a "big hill to climb," the campaign launches for Smith and Morse started with their refusals to even say why they were running for Senate in the first place, their anti-choice records were blasted, and plagiarism scandals and so-called technical difficulties marred their campaigns. Read more about Smith and Morse’s failure to launch:
BOTCHED ROLLOUTS: Kevin Smith and Chuck Morse's botched campaign rollouts solidified that they are the Republicans' "B-tier" candidates. Outright plagiarism and technical difficulties marred Smith's rollout. Smith's just-launched campaign website was quickly exposed for directly plagiarizing Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's website and touting Texas' draconian abortion ban. That wasn't the campaign's only "technical difficulty." The same day, Smith tweeted out his campaign launch event — with a link that didn't even work. Meanwhile, in Chuck Morse's lackluster announcement on Sunday, he talked about his plans to fundraise but was "reluctant" to share "specifics on my positions" and "declined to speak in detail about his plans." Despite promising to file with the FEC on Wednesday, Morse waited until today to do so. Morse also brought on corporate special interest lobbyist Jim Merrill — a registered lobbyist for, among others, a Chinese-owned client with close links to the Chinese government, who has business before Morse's state senate — to serve as his finance chair.
REPUBLICANS' EXTREME, ANTI-CHOICE RECORDS SPOTLIGHTED: Smith and Morse's extreme, anti-choice records are already receiving harsh scrutiny. The Union Leader reported on Smith's history of being "a vocal opponent of legal abortions and also had opposed the law legalizing same-sex marriages." That extreme, anti-choice record also came under fire from NH leaders who blasted Morse and Smith for supporting new restrictions on abortion. Morse was also slammed for being the "expert" and "key architect" of the state budget that included the first abortion ban in modern New Hampshire history — which Morse shepherded into law.
SENATE RACE WILL BE UPHILL BATTLE FOR UNKNOWN AND UNLIKED CANDIDATES: It's bad enough that Smith and Morse have been labeled "B-tier" candidates, but after their underwhelming campaign launches this week, it's even clearer that they have a "big hill to climb" and are "starting from behind." For Smith, jumping from Town Manager to US Senate is like "jumping from AA baseball to the Majors." Pundits panned Morse as an unlikable candidate who has "not demonstrated charismatic leadership and getting people fired up," who is "not that well-known outside his home district," and said he "must win a primary, something he hasn't had to do in years." Even Republicans think that if neither candidate is able to get the traction they need, "it would behoove them to drop out."
THE NH GOP PRIMARY IS ALREADY GETTING NASTY. Smith and Morse wasted no time throwing punches and one-upping each other, setting the tone for a messy and nasty Republican primary. Morse announced his campaign on Sunday ahead of Smith in an attempt at "blocking Londonderry Town Manager Kevin Smith from getting too much early traction on his own candidacy." Morse's campaign also used his launch as an opportunity to take a jab at Smith's long record as a Republican operative, with campaign consultant Dave Carney saying Morse is "not a political hack." And in a sign that this primary is already getting messy, conservatives are attacking Morse as the "RINO Pick of the Litter."