The 2022 primary season is poised to end on a strong note, with voters in New Hampshire and Rhode Island deciding a series of fiercely contested races that could play a major role in defining who controls the House and Senate next year.
For more than six months, voters across the country have set the stakes for the November general election, a series of contests that will decide control at nearly every level of government below the presidency. Democrats are defending narrow majorities on Capitol Hill and hard-won state executive seats across the country, while Republicans are trying to regain control of Congress and stop President Joe Biden’s agenda. The GOP is also positioned to pick a slate of deniers from the 2020 election to key positions in states and potentially the House and Senate.
The key race tonight: On Tuesday, Granite State Republicans hope to flip key Senate and House seats held by Democrats, but, as it has been a theme all year, they could see those ambitions tempered if candidates the party considers most viable in a general election are not the choice of primary voters most aligned with former President Donald Trump’s politics.
It’s been a rough few months for Republicans seeking to control the Senate in January. And Tuesday’s primary could be the coup de grâce.
Many Republicans are concerned that Don Bolduc, a retired Army brigadier general who ran unsuccessfully for the Senate in 2020, could win Tuesday’s Republican Senate primary, setting off a frenzy of foreign spending by Republicans seeking boost Chuck Morse, the president of the state Senate and favorite of the establishment.
Bolduc has shown little ability to raise money (he had raised less than $600,000 as of August 24, compared to Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan’s $31.4 million) and has a propensity to speak provocatively, and even Republican operatives who know him well describe it as a “loose cannon.”
“He is not a serious candidate. He really is not him,” said the popular Republican governor. Chris Sununu told WGIR in August. “If he were the nominee, I have no doubt it would be much more difficult for us to try to win that seat back. So I don’t take him seriously as a candidate. I don’t think most people do.”
To help Morse, Sununu endorsed Morse days before the primary and recently spoke with Trump, urging him to enter the race. Trump has yet to endorse, but some Republicans in the state were concerned that he would endorse Bolduc.
Other key race: In the Republican primary in New Hampshire’s 1st congressional district, voters will decide whether mimicking Trump’s style is more effective than following his policies.
Republicans Matt Mowers and Karoline Leavitt are the favorites in the primaries. Both worked for Trump, Mowers in his 2016 campaign and at the State Department, and Leavitt in the White House press department, and both fully agree with the former president’s agenda.
Read more about tonight’s primaries here.