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New Report: The NH GOP Senate Primary Gets Messy With Open Campaign Feuds and Trips to Mar-a-Lago

In case you missed it, national political reporter Dave Catanese this weekend wrote about how Republicans are already turning on each other in the New Hampshire Senate primary. In interviews with Catanese, both Don Bolduc and Kevin Smith’s campaign openly attacked Chuck Morse — and Morse’s senior advisor admitted voters don’t even know who the Senate President is. Even juicier? Don Bolduc is reportedly planning a trip to see Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago — just weeks after Trump called Vladimir Putin a “genius.” The story makes clear that the GOP is heading into a messy and chaotic primary that is making even Republicans like Bill Binnie acknowledge that Senator Hassan clearly has a “leg-up” against Republicans’ “b-list” candidates. Read the Bolduc campaign’s attacks on Chuck Morse:



And read more from Dave Catanese’s new report on the Republican primary:

  • Carney also acknowledged that without Sununu, Republicans are essentially starting from scratch. That includes Morse, who registered just a 12% favorable rating in one January poll. It’s not that voters inherently dislike him, they just couldn’t pick him out in a line-up.

  • “He has 100% name ID of everyone who has ever been in the state capitol,” Carney says. “Voters don’t know him. He’s under no illusions that he’s starting from a blank slate.”

  • Even less known to the vast public: Kevin Smith, a local town manager who has been active in New Hampshire politics for decades. [...]

  • Smith, an ambitious longtime activist [...] is attempting to position himself as the vibrant outsider against the staid Morse.

  • “Sen. Morse has been in elected office for the past 20 years, much like Sen. Hassan,” says Seb Rougemont, Smith’s campaign manager.

  • Bolduc plans to make the Mar-a-Lago pilgrimage in the coming weeks to massage Trump’s affection for military men, but former Trump aide Corey Lewandowski has an ongoing feud with Bolduc which could complicate the path to an endorsement. (Morse has no relationship with Trump and was a Jeb! Bush backer in 2016.)

  • Thirdly, is the field even completely set? New Hampshire’s filing deadline to run in the September primary isn’t until June 10, meaning there’s a lot of time to play with here.

  • But at least one Republican, who has also run for U.S. Senate in the state, is saying the quiet part out loud: This is not where Republicans want to be, and Sununu’s to blame.

  • That’s Bill Binnie, a wealthy investment executive who considered his own GOP campaign, speaking on the “Good Morning New Hampshire” radio program earlier this week. Remember “disqualifying” if Bolduc is the nominee; Democratic ad-makers sure will.

  • Binnie, in the interview, goes on to say he’s with Morse, “clearly the most qualified” candidate who “will ultimately win” the primary, but that Bolduc is beginning with a lead that is 2-1 or 3-1. That means a tricky six-month slog ahead for Morse, as Binnie suggests:

  • “And whether or not you know, Senator Morse can raise enough money to get his name out there is a question. I do think that by the time, as often happens, the primary rolls around the voters, especially the primary voters, know, know, everybody and what they're about, right? The problem is that that Senator Hassan will have so much money raised that she will be able to impugn and paint such a negative picture of whether it's Morse or Bolduc, whoever, that you won't even recognize that person, they enter the general race, which is a shame.”

Read the full story here.