This Is The Result Of A Corrupt Two Party System
When New Hampshire conservative Maggie Hassan (D) ran in 2016, she beat Republican Kelly Ayotte by 1,017 votes out of nearly 740,000 cast— 47.98% to 47.84%. This cycle, Hassan should be the easiest incumbent for Republicans to oust. She isn’t popular and her voting record in the Senate is off-putting to the Democratic base; she votes with the Republicans far more than almost any other Democrat and doesn’t deserve to be supported by progressives. For example, she voted with the GOP against raising the minimum wage. That alone should disqualify her from reelection. But Republicans would never use that against her. Instead, absurdly, they just call her a "socialist."
Hassan is likely to be reelected, as Republicans look towards Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and maybe even Mark Kelly (D-AZ) as the most likely incumbents they can defeat and hope they can somehow salvage the broken Republican campaigns in Ohio and Pennsylvania. They're not saying so out loud yet, but New Hampshire isn’t a top priority for them anymore. The polling averages show Hassan handily beating any of the potential Republican candidates-- not because of anything she has to offer, but just because the Republican alternatives are so dismal.
And right now, it looks like the New Hampshire Republicans are going to nominate the most far right of their third-rate contenders, Don Bolduc, a fascist, who is leading the other contenders by double digits. This morning, reporting for the NY Times, Trip Gabriel looked at the trap the Republicans are falling into in the Granite State. Hassan may be a pile of crap, but Bolduc is a sure loser. Gabriel introduced him as having called Chris Sununu, the state’s very popular Republican governor, “a Chinese Communist sympathizer,” while calling for the repeal of the 17th Amendment allowing direct popular election of senators and raising the possibility of abolishing the FBI.
Gabriel predicts the GOP is about to pick another unelectable extremist. (You may have noticed that the NY Times isn’t prepared to call fascists “fascists” yet.) “In one primary after another this year, Republican voters have chosen hard-right candidates who party officials had warned would have trouble winning in November, and Bolduc could be on course to be the next. Like him, many embraced Trump’s election denial. ‘I signed a letter with 120 other generals and admirals saying that Donald Trump won the election and, damn it, I stand by’ it, Bolduc said at a recent debate.”
The suddenly fraught midterm landscape for Republicans caused Senator Mitch McConnell, the GOP leader, to complain recently that poor “candidate quality” could cost his party a majority in the Senate that had long seemed the likely result.
In the final competitive primary of the year, scheduled for September 13, Republican officials in New Hampshire are echoing Mr. McConnell. They warn that grass-roots voters are poised to elect another problematic nominee, Mr. Bolduc, and jeopardize a winnable race against a vulnerable Democrat.
This month, Gov. Chris Sununu, a Republican moderate broadly popular in his purple state, said on New Hampshire talk radio that Bolduc was a “conspiracy theorist-type candidate.” He added: “If he were the nominee, I have no doubt we would have a much harder time trying to win that seat back.”
Bolduc, who served 10 tours in Afghanistan, held a formidable lead with Republican voters in a poll this month, in large part because he has barnstormed continuously for more than two years, while his rivals joined the race later. The contest was effectively frozen for a year until November, when Sununu, a top recruiting target of national Republicans, declined to run for Senate, deciding instead to seek a fourth term as governor.
Bolduc has built a following by offering red meat to the conservative [he means fascist] base. But New Hampshire is a politically divided state where Republicans who win statewide traditionally appeal to independents and conservative Democrats. Its four-member congressional delegation is entirely Democratic; state government is firmly in the hands of Republicans.
“We’re not a red state, we’re not a blue state, we’re a weird state,” said Greg Moore, a Republican operative not involved in the Senate primary. He was skeptical that Bolduc, after targeting only his party’s base, would be able to attract a broader coalition in November.
In a debate on Wednesday outside Manchester, Bolduc denounced the provision in Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act authorizing Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices, saying, “Anything the government’s involved in, it’s not good, it doesn’t work.”
A rival of Bolduc’s, Kevin Smith, told him at an earlier debate, “You know, Don, your M.O. seems to be ‘Fire, ready, aim.’”
… Hasan has long been seen as vulnerable. Just 39 percent of voters in the Institute of Politics survey said she deserved to be re-elected.
At the debate outside Manchester, the candidates bashed Hassan, a former governor, linking her to rising gas prices and expected high prices for home heating oil this winter.
Hassan, in response, defended for voting for Democrats’ climate and prescription drug law. “While I’m fighting to get results for New Hampshire, my opponents are out on the campaign trail defending Big Oil and Big Pharma and bragging about their records of opposing a woman’s fundamental freedom,” she said in a statement.
Trump has made no endorsement in New Hampshire, and he may not make one at all. He snubbed Bolduc in a 2020 Senate primary, endorsing a rival. Neither Bolduc nor Morse have spoken to Trump lately about the race, according to their campaigns.
Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s first 2016 campaign manager, who is a New Hampshire resident, has publicly urged his former boss not to back Bolduc, calling him “not a serious candidate.”
Bolduc declined to comment for this article. Rick Wiley, a senior advisor to Bolduc, said the criticisms of him— that he is unelectable, that independents won’t vote for him— were the same ones thrown at Trump in 2016.
“The electorate wants an outsider, that is resoundingly clear,” Wiley said. Shrugging off Mr. Sununu’s criticisms, he added: “I expect we’re probably going to be sharing a ballot with the governor. There will be unity on the ticket in November and Republicans up and down the ballot will be successful because of the policies Biden and Maggie Hassan have put in place.”
The biggest primary threat to Bolduc, and the preferred candidate of much of what remains of the GOP establishment, is Morse, a low-key, self-made tree nursery owner with a strong Granite State accent, who appears in his TV ads riding a tractor at dawn at his operation in southern New Hampshire.
Despite his prominent role in state government, a poll in April found that 54 percent of Republican voters didn’t know enough about Morse to have an opinion. Just 2 percent named him as their choice for the nomination. His ascent to 16 percent in the latest public poll this month is seen by supporters as a sign of momentum.
Dave Carney, a strategist for Morse, agreed that Bolduc was the current race leader. But he said that Morse’s superior fund-raising, which allowed him to buy TV ads, was raising his profile, and predicted that he would continue to gain on Bolduc.
“Sixty-one percent of voters are willing to replace Hassan,” Carney said, referring to the share of voters in the Institute of Politics survey who said that it was time to give someone new a chance to be senator or that they were undecided. “We need to nominate somebody who can do that.” He called Bolduc a “flawed candidate,” adding, “I don’t think there’s any way in hell he could get conservative Democrats or the vast majority of independents to go his way.”
Morse had $975,000 in his campaign account as of July, compared with Bolduc, who had just $65,000. Hassan’s $7.3 million on hand has allowed her to aggressively spend on TV ads all year, including one promoting her work for people with disabilities that features her son, who was born with cerebral palsy.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee, which this month slashed its planned spending in three battleground states— Pennsylvania, Arizona and Wisconsin— has kept a commitment to spend $6.5 million on the New Hampshire race after the primary, reflecting its belief in Hassan’s vulnerability. [It is widely believed that if Bolduc wins the primary, that $6.5 million will be reassigned to Ohio, Georgia, Wisconsin or Nevada.]
…At the recent debate, the audience was mostly committed supporters of each of the candidates, with few appearing undecided. Bolduc fans dismissed out of hand Sununu’s view that their candidate would have a hard time in November.
“Sununu is a globalist clown and is not a Republican,” said Kelley Potenza, a candidate for the state House of Representatives who is from Rochester. “He’s afraid because Don Bolduc is the only candidate that’s not going to be controlled.”
If you'd like to help elect progressive Democrats-- so not characters like Manchin, Sinema and Hassan-- to the Senate in November, please click here for the Blue America 2022 Senate ActBlue page. There aren't many of them, but at least we know they'll vote-- unlike Republicans and Maggie Hassan-- to raise the minimum wage to something a worker can survive on.