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David M. Shribman: “Nobody Wants To Run For The Senate As A Republican” In New Hampshire

In case you missed it, columnist David M. Shribman — a long-time watcher of New Hampshire politics — wrote about how in the wake of Chris Sununu’s decision not to run for Senate, a divided and fractured New Hampshire Republican Party is struggling to find a strong candidate to run. In the column, Shribman reports on how Donald Trump’s influence over New Hampshire Republicans has made it nearly impossible for the party to recruit a strong candidate — and is set to weaken whoever becomes the Republican nominee.


Conway Daily Sun: National Perspective: New Hampshire’s past is not prologue


Key Excerpts:


NORTH CONWAY, N.H.— Nobody wants to run for the Senate as a Republican in this state.


Well, not exactly nobody. But nobody who isn’t, for want of a better term, a relative nobody.


[...]


This Republican predicament is all the more astounding in view of the historical profile of this state. While the Democrats have taken New Hampshire in the past five presidential elections, the tint of this state’s politics is distinctly red, and the Republican bench has always been deep. In the case of New Hampshire, the past is not prologue.


[...]


With a Republican lineage like that — with a tradition of conservatism that retains trace elements today — the failure of top GOP figures to take a race insiders believe they would win with ease suggests the presence of a broader factor.


Like everything else in American politics the partial answer comes down to two words: Donald Trump.


Trump loyalists have taken an increasingly prominent place in the formal organization of the New Hampshire GOP. But only a third of New Hampshire residents overall have a favorable opinion of Mr. Trump, according to the latest Granite State Poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center. [...]


The disconnect between traditional Republicans and Trump Republicans, a feature of internal GOP struggles in many states, has significant implications in several important political contests. In Wyoming, that struggle will determine the fate of Rep. Liz Cheney, whose apostasy includes voting to impeach Mr. Trump and her presence as vice chair of the congressional committee examining the origins of the January Capitol insurrection. It is a factor in races to determine successors to several retiring Republicans, including Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Roy Blunt of Missouri along with Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.


“You have Trump people here who control the party, and regular conservative Republicans don’t want to try to appeal to them,” said Andrew Smith, director of the UNH Survey Center. “The Trumpistas may not be chasing people away, but a lot of people don’t want to put up with them. There have been ugly incidents.”


The result is that the Republicans are in the unhappy position of trying to persuade one or more of their congressional candidates to take on the Senate race, or to nominate state Senate President Chuck Morse or Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut, or to consider retired Army Gen. Don Bolduc, who was passed over by Mr. Trump for an endorsement when he aimed for the GOP Senate nomination in 2020 but who campaigned here last week.


“The Trump element in the party doesn’t have the status or capability to win the general election,” said Mr. Rath, a onetime member of the Republican National Committee. “Many people don’t want to have anything to do with them. The party now is full of true believers, but there aren’t enough of them to win an election.”


Read the full article at the Conway Daily Sun.