WEEK IN REVIEW: NH GOP Hits Rock Bottom
This was a bad week to be a New Hampshire Republican. Whether you’re a Republican candidate for Governor, U.S. Senate, Congress, or the state legislature… things are not looking good for you.
MONDAY: Governor Sununu Slammed for Calling Trump F***ing Crazy, And A Potential Trump-Backed Candidate Might Join NH Senate Primary
On top of his tanking poll numbers, Governor Sununu’s base has turned against him for his attacks on Donald Trump at the Gridiron Club Dinner in DC on Saturday night. Sununu slammed Trump, saying “I don’t think he’s so crazy that you could put him in a mental institution. But I think if he were in one, he ain’t getting out.” Republican State Rep. Al Baldasaro, chair of the NH House State-Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs Committee, responded to Sununu’s remarks about the former president saying, “I think the governor is a joke.”
Fallout from Sununu’s attacks on Donald Trump have led to a potential primary opponent in Sununu’s gubernatorial race. WMUR: Sununu's 'crazy' joke about Trump draws ire of former president's supporters
At a roast-style event Saturday night at the Gridiron Club, Sununu called Trump "crazy," adding, "I don't think he's so crazy he should be in a mental institution, but if he were in one, he ain't getting out!"
Some longtime supporters of Trump aren't laughing. "I think the governor's a joke," said State Rep. Al Baldasaro, R-Londonderry.
The Hill: Sununu on Trump roast at Gridiron dinner: ‘It’s all a joke’
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) said Monday that his comments about former President Trump at the Gridiron Club dinner were a joke after the remarks mocking the ex-president made headlines.
In February, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said the ex-president gave him the task of finding a primary challenger to take on Sununu.
Meanwhile, according to a report from the New York Sun, Donald Trump's advisor Corey Lewandowski said that another candidate — potentially Wendy Long, a Republican who ran twice for US Senate in New York in 2012 and 2016 — has a “100 percent” chance of joining the NH GOP Senate primary and could very well get Trump’s support. This spells even more chaos for the already tumultuous NH GOP Senate primary. New York Sun: Mystery Candidate Lurking in the Wings in Senate Race in New Hampshire, Lewandowski Tells the Sun
Mr. Lewandowski tells the Sun that “unequivocally somebody else is getting in” the race in the coming week or two. He refuses to provide this paragon’s name. He does confirm the expectation that the candidate is a woman “is very true.” He puts the odds of this female candidate entering the race at “100 percent.”
Signs are emerging that Wendy Long could be the woman Mr. Lewandowski is referring to.
General Bolduc thinks if he wins it will be “a bellwether” for Mr. Trump in 2024. If another New Hampshire GOP senate candidate gets Mr. Trump’s endorsement, however, the pro-Trump vote will likely follow.
TUESDAY: Matt Mowers Potentially Commits Voter Fraud
In CD-01, Republican candidate and former Trump aide Matt Mowers was caught potentially violating election law in 2016 by casting votes in both his home state of New Jersey and in New Hampshire. An avid pusher of the Big Lie, Mowers admitted double voting, and is facing heaps of backlash by his fellow Republican candidates for it. This story made the front page, somewhere Mowers seldom gets to be.
AP: Trump aide seeking NH House seat voted in 2 states in 2016
Legal experts say Mowers’ actions could violate a federal law that prohibits “voting more than once” in “any general, special, or primary election.” That includes casting a ballot in separate jurisdictions “for an election to the same candidacy or office.” It also puts Mowers, who was a senior adviser in Donald Trump’s administration and later held a State Department post, in an awkward spot at a time when much of his party has embraced the former president’s lies about a stolen 2020 election and has pushed for restrictive new election laws.
Seacoast Current: Matt Mowers Voted in NH, NJ Presidential Primaries, Report Says
New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley went beyond criticism of Mowers, but included Republicans who insist the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent. He said they must address the allegation against Mowers. "Republicans in New Hampshire and across the country have made attacking voting rights and spreading voter disinformation a platform of their party, yet they continue to be the ones who violate election law, attempt to undermine our election systems, and circumvent the rules," Buckley said in a statement.
Union Leader: Mowers defends voting twice in 2016 primary elections
But after the story surfaced Tuesday, Republican foes Karoline Leavitt of Hampton, Gail Huff Brown of Rye, Timothy Baxter of Seabrook and Julian Acciard of Salem all attacked Mowers.
WEDNESDAY: Bolduc Claps Back at “Establishment-Backed Candidates” Morse and Smith
Don Bolduc didn’t hold back in a campaign memo he released on Wednesday where he went after his primary opponents — attacking “establishment-backed candidates like Morse and Smith” who he says are struggling in the polls. It’s the latest sign that New Hampshire’s Republican Senate primary continues to be fractured and full of tension. THURSDAY: NH GOP Senate Candidate Kevin Smith’s Decades-Long Anti-LGBTQ Record On Blast
The American Independent released a new report that highlights how NH GOP Senate candidate Kevin Smith has been pushing his own extreme, anti-LGBTQ agenda in New Hampshire for over a decade. According to the report, Smith fought measures that would prevent bullying of LGBTQ students — the latest sign of just how out of touch he is with New Hampshire values.
American Independent: New Hampshire Senate candidate was pushing 'Don't Say Gay' agenda 12 years ago
[...] 11 years ago, Smith led the charge to stop public schools from acknowledging and affirming the existence of LGBTQ people.
During his tenure at the helm, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported, Smith pushed to keep "pro-gay" curriculum out of New Hampshire's public schools. In February 2010, the newspaper reported on Feb. 14, he led opposition to the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes in an anti-bullying proposal, which Cornerstone called a "bill mandating gay and transgender material in school curriculum" and said was being used "as a tool for political activists to inject their sexualized agenda into the classroom."
In June 2009, Smith had pressured his local school board in Litchfield, New Hampshire, to remove material from its high school curriculums that he did not think had "good, wholesome values to it," including David Sedaris' "I Like Guys," about his experiences as a gay adolescent.
Cornerstone's website during Smith's tenure included links promoting harmful "conversion therapy" that purportedly could change people's sexual orientation or gender identity.
Two years after New Hampshire became one of the first states to adopt marriage equality by legislation, Smith spearheaded an unsuccessful 2011 effort to repeal it.
FRIDAY: Establishment GOP to Morse, Smith, and Bolduc: If You Can’t Fundraise, You Need to “Get Out of This Race”
2020 Republican Senate nominee Corky Messner blasted the NH GOP Senate primary candidates in an interview with NH Today’s Chris Ryan for their abysmal fundraising and incessant infighting. Corky’s interview comes one day after he published a Facebook post where he said General Don Bolduc should withdraw and warned that if either Morse or Smith don’t “demonstrate viability as a candidate through fundraising, then that person should withdraw.”
Read key excerpts from Corky’s interview below and listen to the interview here:
Corky Messner: “And if the Republicans continue to fight among themselves throughout the summer, I think the likelihood of a Republican beating Maggie Hassan in the general is very, very low.”
Corky Messner: “I, you know, you know, I got to tell you $400,000 for a quarter for a US Senate race is not much money. At this point in 2020, I think I had somewhere between two and three million cash on hand at this point in my cycle.”
Corky Messner: “So I hope everybody who's in this race or is thinking about getting in this race, does some reflection and recognizes that if they really care about this country and electing a conservative, that that if they don't have the ability to raise money or they haven't raised money that they get out of this race.”
Corky Messner: “Yeah, it will be more difficult for New Hampshire U.S. Senate candidates to raise money if there is a contested primary going on. Donors do not like to donate money when Republicans are fighting among themselves, so it will get more difficult as the summer goes on.”