Mystery Candidate Lurking in the Wings in Senate Race in New Hampshire, Lewandowski Tells the Sun
The New Hampshire Senate race, like others this year, takes on outside importance because the upper house is split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans.
Could Brigadier General Don Bolduc, a retired Army combat veteran of 10 tours in Afghanistan, get ambushed in the race for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire — and by a woman who has yet to step forward but will do so shortly?
That’s the prediction Corey Lewandowski hazards to the Sun. President Trump’s former campaign manager also predicts that General Bolduc won’t win Mr. Trump’s endorsement. “Donald Trump endorses winners,” Mr. Lewandowski says. “Don Bolduc is not going to be the Republican nominee.”
Mr. Lewandowski tells the Sun that that “unequivocally somebody else is getting in” the race in the coming week or two. He refuses to provide this paragon’s name. He does confirm the expectation that the candidate is a woman “is very true.” He puts the odds of this female candidate entering the race at “100 percent.”
Signs are emerging that Wendy Long could be the woman Mr. Lewandowski is referring to.
An attorney who clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas and twice ran for Senate from New York State, Ms. Long now lists a New Hampshire residence on her social media accounts. In the last week, she has tweeted twice negatively about the incumbent senator, Democrat Maggie Hassan, pointing to border security and gas prices.
A message left at Ms. Long’s office was not immediately returned.
General Bolduc is currently leading the GOP field. In a head-to-head matchup with Senator Hassan, he earns 39 percent support among registered voters to her 44 percent, according to a recent Saint Anselm College New Hampshire Institute of Politics poll.
The other GOP senate primary candidates, Kevin Smith and Chuck Morse, earn 34 percent and 36 percent respectively against Ms. Hassan—not far behind the general, though more than 43 percent of polled voters had never heard of either candidate.
Mr. Morse is president of the senate in New Hampshire and Mr. Smith is a former Londonderry town manager. Cryptocurrency entrepreneur Bruce Fenton announced his senate candidacy this week and has yet to be polled.
None of the GOP candidates has begun a paid media campaign. General Bolduc ran for Senate in 2020, so his name recognition is higher. The primary isn’t until September 13. Ads and endorsements will change the race, as will the entry of a high-profile candidate.
General Bolduc is running on his 33 years of military experience as “a national and global security expert” and on a platform of fiscal conservatism, he tells the Sun. He wants to secure the southern border, protect Second Amendment rights, is pro-life, and he claims he is the only candidate not beholden to the political establishment.
“I am the outsider,” the general says. “People have described me as the Trump candidate,” but “I’m my own man.”
General Bolduc was one of more than 120 retired military personnel who signed an open letter questioning the results of the 2020 presidential election. He welcomes the association with President Trump and wants “to earn” Mr. Trump’s support. The former president has a 43 percent favorable rating in New Hampshire, but among the state’s Republicans, 83 percent view Mr. Trump favorably.
The New Hampshire Senate race, like others this year, takes on outside importance because the upper house is split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans. With an evenly divided Senate and five Republican senators retiring, Mr. Lewandowski says he is closely monitoring several races, including in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Nevada, and New Hampshire.
“Every state matters” to win the majority, Mr. Lewandowski says.
Ms. Hassan’s unfavorable rating among New Hampshire registered voters sits at 51 percent, according to a March 23 poll from the nonpartisan New Hampshire Institute of Politics. Despite her raising and spending millions of dollars on campaign ads this early in the cycle, she “hasn’t moved the needle” on her approval, the institute’s executive director, Neil Levesque, tells the Sun. This is “a flippable seat for sure.”
Some 68 percent of New Hampshire voters think the country is “on the wrong track,” according to this same poll. Midterm elections are often difficult for the party of the incumbent president, and 2022 could follow this pattern, with many unhappy about the direction of the country and its leadership. Ms. Hassan’s voting record aligns with that of President Biden.
“Donald Trump’s endorsement matters greatly,” Mr. Levesque says.
General Bolduc has raised only $500,000 to Senator Hassan’s more than $17 million this election cycle, but he says his grassroots base is more important than money. “My message of God, community, family, and country resonates all over the state,” General Bolduc says.
Mr. Lewandowski disagrees. He calls the ability to raise money “part of the formula to win.” Mr. Lewandowski says he and Mr. Trump “talk races all the time,” and he says the former president asks, “If I endorse that person will they win?”
Mr. Lewandowski doesn’t think General Bolduc can win, and “President Trump refers to Corey Lewandowski when he’s doing anything dealing with New Hampshire,” Mr. Levesque concurs.
General Bolduc is critical of politicians on both sides of the aisle and has made his share of adversaries, including the popular Republican governor, Chris Sununu. On The Pulse of NH radio show in November, General Bolduc called Governor Sununu “a Chinese Communist sympathizer.” The governor has not publicly responded.
Mr. Lewandowski says this comment and General Bolduc’s recent Fox News appearance when he called on President Biden to put special forces or CIA operatives on the ground in Ukraine are signs General Bolduc is “not qualified to be a United States senator.” He called General Bolduc “a war monger” and describes General Bolduc’s Ukraine position as “the exact antithesis” of Mr. Trump’s America First policy.
Mr. Lewandowski would not say whether President Trump would endorse the yet-announced female GOP senate candidate, but he expressed enthusiasm. “New Hampshire has a history of electing women to federal office,” Mr. Lewandowski says. “It’s not about the biology of the candidate,” but a “high-profile female” with the ability to fundraise nationally would present “some advantages” in the race against Senator Hassan.
General Bolduc thinks if he wins it will be “a bellwether” for Mr. Trump in 2024. If another New Hampshire GOP senate candidate gets Mr. Trump’s endorsement, however, the pro-Trump vote will likely follow.
Ms. McCaughey is a native New Yorker now based in New Hampshire. Her interests include politics, drug policy, and counterculture.