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What They’re Saying: “Bitterly Contested,” “Fiery” New Hampshire Republican Senate Primary “Offers One Last GOP Slugfest”

NYT: In New Hampshire, an Intraparty G.O.P. Fight for the Senate Intensifies
NYMag: “New Hampshire Republicans are haunted by a Senate candidacy that didn’t happen”
WSJ: “The 2022 primary season is ending the same way it began: with looming questions about the electability of Republican candidates and the lingering effects of former President Donald Trump on the party.”

Ahead of today’s New Hampshire GOP Senate primary, news coverage is highlighting how “the 2022 primary season is ending the same way it began” – with a “fiery” and “bitterly contested” “intraparty GOP fight” that has left Republicans fretting they will add another weak candidate to their “suboptimal Senate-candidate roster.”

See for yourself:

The New York Times: In New Hampshire, an Intraparty G.O.P. Fight for the Senate Intensifies

  • An intramural Republican fight over New Hampshire’s nominee for the Senate entered its final day on Monday with Gov. Chris Sununu and national Republicans working furiously to try to block a Trump-style 2020 election denier, Don Bolduc, whom they perceive as too extreme to win in November.
  • The Senate race has featured an extraordinary joint effort by Republican leaders and Mr. Sununu to block Mr. Bolduc, a retired Army general whom many Republican officials perceive as too extreme to win a general election in purple-hued New Hampshire.
  • Sununu… had accused Mr. Bolduc of being a “conspiracy-theory extremist” whom most voters did not take seriously.
  • At a recent debate, Mr. Bolduc stood by the false claim that Mr. Trump won the 2020 election. He has also said he was open to abolishing the F.B.I. after agents executed a search warrant on Mr. Trump’s Florida estate in search of classified documents. And last year, he called Mr. Sununu a “communist sympathizer” whose family “supports terrorism.”

NBC News: New Hampshire’s Senate primary offers one last GOP slugfest

  • Retired Army Brigadier Gen. Don Bolduc has promoted 2020 election conspiracies, has a reputation for incendiary rhetoric and reported only $84,000 in his campaign war chest at the end of August.
  • Another candidate in the race, former Londonderry town manager Kevin Smith, observed last week that the race had become a binary choice distasteful to many Republicans.
  • “So, if you want six more years of Mitch McConnell, well, vote for Chuck Morse,” Smith added. “If you want six more years of Maggie Hassan, vote for Don Bolduc.”
  • It wasn’t supposed to be like this for Republicans. Sununu… was a top recruitment target for McConnell and gave serious thought to running. But Sununu passed, leaving the GOP without a heavyweight contender.
  • [Bolduc] has called Sununu, a Trump critic, a “Chinese Communist sympathizer.” He has advanced debunked claims that voter fraud cost Trump re-election. And he questioned the need for the FBI after the agency searched Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home.

Washington Post: Primary season concludes with bitterly contested GOP races in N.H.

  • Six months of bitter and expensive Republican primaries will come to an end on Tuesday… in New Hampshire.
  • For Republicans, the finale to primary season is in line with how it has unfolded in many other states: with divisive intraparty fights.
  • The race includes retired U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Don Bolduc, who has said that he “concurred with Trump’s assessment” of the election, meaning his false claims that he was the winner, and co-signed a letter raising questions about the vote. Bolduc has also endorsed closing the Education Department, and he asked whether the United States should “get rid of” the FBI in the wake of last month’s search of the former president’s Florida home, Mar-a-Lago.
  • At a campaign stop in Rochester, Morse… did not oppose the effort by most House Republicans, and some Senate Republicans, to challenge Biden’s electoral votes from Arizona and Pennsylvania.
  • “You’re a rubber stamp,” cryptocurrency investor Bruce Fenton told Morse in a summer debate hosted by NHJournal. “You’d go down [to Washington] and vote the way they tell you to vote.”

The Wall Street Journal: Primaries End With GOP Battle for Senate Nomination in New Hampshire

  • The 2022 primary season is ending the same way it began: with looming questions about the electability of Republican candidates and the lingering effects of former President Donald Trump on the party.
  • Republicans have faced questions of candidate quality all year in places such as Arizona, Pennsylvania and Ohio, where first-time candidates were boosted in Senate races by Mr. Trump’s endorsement.
  • Corey Lewandowski, a New Hampshire Republican and former campaign manager for Mr. Trump, has said Mr. Bolduc would have difficulty winning the seat in November.
  • Republican Gov. Chris Sununu… last year ruled out a Senate bid, dealing a setback to Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R., Ky.) efforts to recruit top candidates.
  • Mr. Bolduc previously called Mr. Sununu a “Chinese communist sympathizer,” and the governor in turn last month called Mr. Bolduc a conspiracy theorist and warned that his nomination would increase Ms. Hassan’s re-election chances. “He’s not a serious candidate,” Mr. Sununu said in an interview with a local outlet last month. ”If he were the nominee, I have no doubt we would have a much harder time trying to win that seat back.”

Fox News: 2022 primary season concludes with fiery Republican face-offs in battleground New Hampshire

  • Two weeks ago a newly formed super PAC named the White Mountain PAC, which has loose links to longtime Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s political orbit, dished out roughly $4 million to run TV commercials in New Hampshire blasting Bolduc for his “crazy ideas.”
  • Bolduc claimed last year that Sununu was a “communist Chinese sympathizer” and that the Sununu family’s business “supports terrorism.”
  • A few weeks ago, Sununu said on a popular statewide talk-radio program that Bolduc’s “not a serious candidate, he’s really not, and if he were the GOP nominee, I have no doubt we would have a much harder time… He’s kind of a conspiracy theorist-type candidate.”
  • McConnell and other Senate GOP leaders spent a year trying to recruit Sununu to take on Hassan, but the governor announced last November that he would instead run for re-election.


ABC News:
Final primaries of 2022 election cycle show divisions in GOP

  • All eyes are on New Hampshire… With New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu opting not to run in the GOP Senate primary, a crowded Republican field emerged as a result.
  • Bolduc has become known for his hard-line views. In the past, he has called Sununu a “Chinese Communist sympathizer,” has pushed for the appeal of the 17th Amendment codifying direct popular election of U.S. senators and has raised abolishing the FBI.

NYMag: New Hampshire Senate Primary Could Be Another Unforced Error for GOP

  • It’s pretty clear that, for whatever reason, the GOP has gone into a highly competitive midterm-election cycle with a suboptimal Senate-candidate roster. That is especially clear in New Hampshire.
  • New Hampshire Republicans are haunted by a Senate candidacy that didn’t happen.
  • Sununu’s demurral left New Hampshire Republicans with no obvious Senate champion and, worse yet, with a front-runner already in the field who doesn’t look like much of a winner… That would be retired Army general Don Bolduc, a walking right-wing gaffe machine.

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