New Hampshire GOP backs Trump choices for Senate, House; Langevin coasts in Rhode Island

Trump urged support for Matt Mowers, Corky Messner at recent rally

During an appearance in Manchester, N.H., on Aug. 28, President Donald Trump reminded New Hampshire Republicans about the candidates he had endorsed for Senate and the 1st District. Both won their races Tuesday. (Erin Clark/The Boston Globe/Getty Images)
During an appearance in Manchester, N.H., on Aug. 28, President Donald Trump reminded New Hampshire Republicans about the candidates he had endorsed for Senate and the 1st District. Both won their races Tuesday. (Erin Clark/The Boston Globe/Getty Images)
Posted September 8, 2020 at 11:35pm

New Hampshire Republicans showed allegiance to President Donald Trump in the state’s primaries Tuesday, backing his preferred candidates for a potentially competitive House district and for Senate.  

Though Trump wasn’t on the ballot Tuesday, he nevertheless faced a test of his influence among the state’s Republicans as he tries to compete there in the general election after barely losing in 2016 to Hillary Clinton. 

In the Granite State’s 1st District, GOP voters selected Matt Mowers to take on freshman Democrat Chris Pappas. Mowers, a former executive director of the state GOP who served in the Trump administration before running for Congress, was leading Air Force veteran and real estate executive Matt Mayberry 61 percent to 27 percent when The Associated Press called the five-way primary race at 9:27 p.m. Eastern time. 

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the general election Likely Democratic. Still, Republicans have their eye on the seat because Trump carried it by less than 2 points in 2016.

Corky Messner, a lawyer and Army veteran, won the GOP Senate nomination, defeating Don Bolduc, also an Army veteran and a political novice who had reportedly discussed a widely debunked theory that billionaire Microsoft founder Bill Gates, a vaccine proponent, wants to implant people with microchips. 

Messner was leading the four-way GOP race with 50 percent to Bolduc’s 43 percent when the AP called the race at 11:11 p.m. Eastern time.

Messner now faces Democratic incumbent Jeanne Shaheen, who is heavily favored to win a third term in November. She easily dispatched retired dentist Paul Krautmann and onetime Libertarian congressional hopeful Tom Alciere in the Democratic primary Tuesday.

Few contests in Rhode Island

Democrats in Rhode Island’s 2nd District, meanwhile, comfortably renominated Rep. Jim Langevin to an 11th term, rejecting a challenge from Dylan Conley, a lawyer and son of a state senator who once appeared as a prospective buyer on the HGTV program “House Hunters.”

Langevin was leading Conley 65 percent to 34 percent when the AP called the race at 9:32 p.m. Eastern time. He next faces former state Rep. Bob Lancia, who easily won his GOP primary Tuesday. 

In the 1st District, Rep. David Cicilline was unopposed in the Democratic primary and has no Republican opponent. Democratic Sen. Jack Reed and Republican challenger Allen Waters also ran unopposed in their primaries. Inside Elections rates all three contests Solid Democratic.  

New Hampshire GOP winners trail in cash

Both of the Trump-endorsed candidates in New Hampshire got in-person shout-outs when the president held a rally in Manchester on Aug. 28. Both also led their fields when it came to fundraising ahead of the primaries, but that will not be the case in the general election. 

After raising $4.4 million, including $3.9 million of his own cash, Messner had $2.5 million left in the bank on Aug. 19. Shaheen, by contrast, held $7.2 million in her campaign coffers, federal election disclosures show. 

Shaheen campaign spokesman Josh Marcus-Blank said Messner, like Bolduc, was too extreme for New Hampshire when it comes to abortion and government relief for the COVID-19 pandemic, among other matters. The senator, he added in an emailed statement, “works across the aisle to make a difference for New Hampshire.”

Messner in a victory statement said New Hampshire voters were “tired of career politicians and Washington bureaucrats.”

“This November’s election is critical to this state and to this nation, and I look forward to working with President Trump to keep America great,” he added.

In the state’s 2nd District, Democratic Rep. Ann McLane Kuster easily won her party’s nomination Tuesday. She was leading retiree Joseph Mirzoeff 93 percent to 7 percent when the AP called the race at 8 p.m. Eastern.

On the Republican side, Air Force veteran Steven Negron earned a rematch with Kuster after winning a four-way primary. He was ahead of Navy veteran and fellow former state Rep. Lynne Blankenbeker 47 percent to 40 percent when the AP called the race early Wednesday at 12:04 a.m. Eastern time. Blankenbeker finished third in the GOP primary two years ago.

Inside Elections rates the general election Solid Democratic.

Both Kuster and Pappas start the fall campaign with a big cash advantage. Pappas had $1.5 million in the bank as of Aug. 19 to Mowers’ $373,000. Kuster reported $2.5 million on hand, while Negron had less than $25,000.

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