GOP PAC buys New Hampshire ads to boost establishment candidate over Trump-allied frontrunner

Gun Rights

New ad buys in New Hampshire show national Republicans are worried the front-runner in the GOP Senate primary is too extreme and could squander the party’s chance to defeat Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan in the general election.

The White Mountain political action committee, which filed papers Tuesday with the Federal Election Committee, has purchased at least $3.5 million in television ad time through the Sept. 13 primary.

The PAC is expected to boost Chuck Morse, the New Hampshire state Senate president who trails Don Bolduc, a retired Army brigadier general who’s aligned himself with former President Donald Trump’s doubts about the 2020 election, heavily criticized Republican Gov. Chris Sununu and called for the repeal of the 17th Amendment that allows for direct popular election of U.S. senators.

Mr. Bolduc led Mr. Morse, 43% to 22%, in a University of New Hampshire poll released on Aug. 30. Other primary candidates each got 5% or less.

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Transcripts of the forthcoming ads highlight Mr. Morse’s push for tougher immigration laws and key endorsements from the National Rifle Association and the New Hampshire Union Leader, according to Politico.

The White Mountain PAC’s treasurer, Les Williamson, used to work for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

National Republicans are making the push amid broader concerns about the quality of GOP nominees for Senate. They are worried that candidates who appeal to the primary electorate will fall flat against vulnerable Democrats like Ms. Hassan.

The Senate is split between the parties, 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as a tiebreaker for Democrats, raising the stakes in every race.

Republicans’ hopes of unseating Ms. Hassan took a hit when Mr. Sununu, decided not to run for the Senate seat, though the race is still considered competitive. The Cook Political Report classifies it as “lean Democrat.”

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