“Pop-up” super PAC launches new attack ad targeting Don Bolduc in NH Senate GOP primary

Gun Rights
White Mountain PAC’s new attack ad targets retired U.S. Army Brigadier General Don Bolduc, a Republican candidate running in New Hampshire’s U.S. Senate primary (Screenshot via AdImpact)

White Mountain PAC launched a new attack ad Wednesday targeting retired U.S. Army Brigadier General Don Bolduc, one of several Republican candidates running in New Hampshire’s U.S. Senate primary. The super PAC reported spending about $14,000 on media production, a fraction of the $4.6 million it dropped Friday on media production and placement supporting state Senate President Chuck Morse

Because White Mountain PAC filed a statement of organization with the Federal Election Commission on Aug. 30, shortly before the Sept. 13 primary, it won’t have to disclose its donors until Sept. 20. As such, voters will not know who bankrolled the super PAC seeking to sway their election until after the polls close.

Launching a so-called “pop-up” super PAC right before an election allows political actors to spend now and disclose later. Conservative Americans PAC, another pop-up super PAC that spent more than $2.4 million to sway voters in key GOP primary races in August, later disclosed over $4 million in contributions from two conservative “dark money” groups.

The new ad sponsored by White Mountain PAC cites a WMUR article where Bolduc accused former President Donald Trump of “election rigging” in 2020 and Bolduc’s comments to the Daily Beast in 2018 questioning how “men of honor” could work in the politically divisive Trump administration. It also criticized Bolduc for supporting President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan – a move initiated by his predecessor. 

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Trump has not yet endorsed a candidate in the GOP primary, although the former president said he is “looking at that race very closely” and told Fox and Friends Bolduc was a “strong guy, tough guy.”

The $4.6 million ad campaign praises Morse as “one tough conservative,” claiming he would finish the border wall and touting his endorsement by the National Rifle Association. As part of the ad campaign, the super PAC paid for a YouTube political ad targeting people over the age of 45, according to Google ad transparency data. The ad has been shown up to 700,000 times as of Sept. 8 since it launched on Sept. 2.

But Bolduc, who ran unsuccessfully for a U.S. Senate seat in 2020, maintains a strong lead in the GOP primary race. Morse currently trails Bolduc, polling at 16% and 32% respectively according to an August poll conducted by the New Hampshire Institute of Politics. A recent University of New Hampshire poll found Bolduc led Morse 43% to 22%. 

No other candidate finished in double digits in either poll.

The Senate seat, currently held by Sen. Maggie Hassan (D–N.H.), leans Democratic, but Republicans have an opportunity to flip it in November. 

Ties to “Washington establishment”

The far-right Buldoc has embraced Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen, supports repealing the 17th Amendment to elect senators by popular vote and called Gov. Chris Sununu (R) a “Chinese Communist sympathizer.” 

Sununu called Bolduc a “conspiracy theorist extremist” who will make it harder for Republicans to win the coveted New Hampshire Senate seat. 

James Thompson, a spokesperson for Bolduc, told POLITICO the pro-Morse ad buy was a “last ditch and losing effort by the establishment to prop up one of their own.”

White Mountain PAC is loosely linked to the political web of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R–Ky.) political web, several outlets including Fox News and the New York Times reported. McConnell has stated Republicans may not flip the Senate in November due to “candidate quality.” 

The Cook Political Report changed its rating for Pennsylvania’s open Senate seat – another competitive race to replace retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey – from “toss up” to “lean Democrat” as the GOP nominee, celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz, falls behind the Democratic nominee, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman

Sen. Rick Scott (R–Fla.), who currently chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, wrote an op-ed published in the conservative Washington Examiner calling “trash-talking” GOP candidates an “amazing act of cowardice” and “treasonous to the conservative cause.”

McConnell was “absolutely not” the op-ed target, Scott later insisted.

Les Williamson, a former top staffer at the NRSC, is listed as the super PAC treasurer. White Mountain PAC listed a post office box at “Post & Mail 4 U” in Texas as its mailing address

Williamson did not return OpenSecrets’ request for comment.

Bolduc told “CloseUp” he was not worried about the last-minute spending campaign to sway voters toward Morse.

“That’s what politics is about, right? At the end of the day, it’s about the Granite Staters,” Bolduc said.

Outside groups pour about $11.2 million into Senate primary race

Despite its relatively recent launch, White Mountain PAC spent more money than any other outside group in the New Hampshire Senate primary as of Sept. 8. 

Altogether, outside groups have poured about $11.2 million into the Senate primary race. 

The Senate Majority PAC and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spent nearly $3.3 million combined opposing Morse. Most of that came from the Senate Majority PAC, a super PAC aligned with House Democratic leadership, which launched a $3.1 million ad campaign attacking Morse in response to White Mountain PAC’s $4.6 million ad blitz.

The DSCC also spent over $174,000 on media targeting Morse, Bolduc and former Londonderry Town Manager Kevin Smith, another candidate in the GOP primary.

A Greater America PAC is the only outside group to spend money supporting Bolduc so far this election cycle. The super PAC, which has not filed a report disclosing donors since it registered with the FEC on July 1, reported spending almost $10,000 on digital ads on Sept. 4.

With a tight turnaround between New Hampshire’s primary and general election, two Democratic super PACs – LCV Victory Fund and Family Friends Action PAC – have spent over $1 million supporting Hassan, who ran unopposed in the Democratic primary. 

Three Republican super PACs also spent around $1 million attacking Hassan.

Our American Century announced a $500,000 media buy Wednesday targeting the incumbent senator. The Republican super PAC received $1 million from Trump’s leadership PAC, Save America, in May – its largest contributor so far this election cycle.

Sentinel Action Fund has spent almost $299,000 against Hassan ahead of the primary. The Republican super PAC also dropped nearly $399,000 against Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), who faces GOP challenger Blake Masters in the Arizona general election.

Americas PAC, another Republican super PAC, spent nearly $233,000 on ads against Hassan as of Sept. 8. Restoration PAC, funded largely by GOP megadonor Richard Uihlein – founder of the supply company ULINE – contributed $2.2 million to Americas PAC as of Sept. 8. Restoration Action, a “dark money” group affiliated with Restoration PAC, also contributed $1 million to Americas PAC.

Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with Senate Republican leadership, also announced plans to spend at least $23 million on TV ads targeting Hassan in New Hampshire. The ads are scheduled to start on Sept. 13 – primary day.

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