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New Report: Republican Panic Over Divisive, Messy Senate Primary

In case you missed it, the Union Leader’s Kevin Landrigan this weekend reported that Republicans are starting to panic after weeks of the GOP Senate candidates relentlessly attacking each other. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Vikram Mansharamani called on his primary opponents to stop attacking each other ahead of the September primary — but the pledge for unity appears to have gotten no takers.

  • Chuck Morse’s campaign is choosing to go low after releasing a memo that “belittles” Mansharamani and Bruce Fenton and says Kevin Smith hit the “fundraising wall.”

  • Morse continues to face fallout for the HuffPost story that exposed Smith for his record of making sexist comments toward a female employee and mishandling a sexual harassment case, which Smith accused Morse of placing against him.

Read more: Union Leader: State House Dome: Senate Candidate Seeks Clean Elections Pledge ONE OF THE NEWEST and least-known Republican candidates for U.S. Senate fears a Sept. 13 primary win will be meaningless if the carping between opponents continue. That’s why Lincoln entrepreneur Vikram Mansharamani has signed a clean elections pledge and challenged his nine GOP opponents to do the same. “This campaign is getting increasingly negative, and I think Republicans need to stop slinging mud at each other and instead focus on beating the Democrats in the fall,” Mansharamani said. [...] “While I am committed to running a positive campaign, some of the other candidates have already shown their willingness to sling mud. I am nobody’s punching bag, and if I am attacked, I will fight back,” Mansharamani said. You can expect Vikram’s rivals to question this as a bit presumptuous, coming from someone who has never run for any elective office and not even lived full-time in New Hampshire for very long. But he’s right that Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., and her team take great delight and are sharing the popcorn while watching the food fight. Morse team belittles rivals GOP Senate hopeful and Senate President Chuck Morse’s campaign doesn’t think much of the financial and political clout of Mansharamani, bitcoin millionaire Bruce Fenton of Durham and other primary foes. In a recent memo, consultants Dave Carney and Jim McKay said the two “newcomers” candidates failed to get any in-state financial backing, with Mansharamani having only six New Hampshire donors on his first quarterly report. [...] The pair ran down the balance sheet of former Londonderry Town Manager Kevin Smith. “Kevin Smith has hit the fundraising wall. He ended the quarter with $349K in the bank, but $140K of that is earmarked for the general election, leaving him with just over $200K in primary funds. He’s already burned 2/3 of the primary money he has raised without doing any voter contact,” they wrote. [...] Morse disavows smear The Senate race got especially bitter when Smith’s campaign insisted Morse admitted campaign adviser Carney was behind a Huffington Post story about a sex harassment lawsuit settled while Smith was Londonderry town manager. Initially, Morse declined to answer when asked about that. He outright denied it, however, during a recent question-and-answer session at a Government Integrity Project event. Here’s the relevant portion of that transcript. Questioner: He (Carney) tried to get the Huffington Post to write a hit piece defaming Kevin Smith. Why is that? OK, it seems like you’ve got no control over your staffers. Morse: Well, it’s nice to you to believe that. But Dave Carney assured me he he had nothing to do with The Washington (sic Huffington) Post. I asked him. So, I’m not afraid to ask tough questions. I do that my whole life. So, no, I don’t believe that’s right. And I said that. Q: Why did you tell Kevin Smith that yes, it was your campaign, and blame the Bolduc campaign? Morse: You are misstating that. Q: Is he (Smith’s campaign) lying? He wrote that on Twitter. Morse: I mean, what I said to Kevin Smith was that it was unacceptable, and I meant that. I said to him it was unacceptable, and I’d look into it and I did. A Dartmouth College Republican also confronted Morse, claiming a Morse staffer had called his group “un-American and authoritarian.” [...]