In the race for the NH Senate, a whirlwind of activity and a lack of clarity
Here’s a breakdown of the five things we learned this week about this potentially pivotal race:
We found out that Republican fundraising was really bad
We officially learned last weekend that Hassan has extended a large field fundraising gap from the Republican candidates who have chosen her.
Last year, Republicans from Mitch McConnell to Mitt Romney and former President George W. Bush personally pleaded with Republican New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu to enter the race. In November, he refused. Two months later, State Senate Speaker Chuck Morse and Londonderry City Manager Kevin Smith joined the Republican primary. None of the insider candidates have been able to gain traction with donors, according to the latest campaign funding documents.
During the first fundraising quarter of the year, Hassan raised $4.3 million, while Morse raised $750,000 and Smith raised $409,000.
The two candidates are not helping each other with their continued stupidity during the election campaign. Take Morse’s press conference on Tax Day this week, where he attempted to hack through a stack of US tax code papers. He couldn’t start the chainsaw and the outdoor press conference was attended by anti-COVID protesters with a bullhorn that drowned out Morse’s remarks.
The Republican field has now grown to five
Sensing an opportunity, Bruce Fenton, a bitcoin entrepreneur, entered the race earlier this month. This week, a recent pandemic transplant from Massachusetts named Vikram Mansharamani also stepped in and hired a who’s who of well-known political consultants.
This brought the field of candidates to five. And that could raise the boat of the fifth candidate, Don Bolduc. Bolduc has a vote base among conservatives since his unsuccessful 2020 Senate bid. including an incident where Fox News instantly checked it on air recently. But he is also the only Republican candidate to have spoken to former President Trump.
The Democratic base is angry with Hassan
Hassan has his own problems. Last week, she took a bold stance on immigration that many in the Democratic base deemed Republican. Hassan has tried to portray herself as a political moderate, but the base have rarely been so upset with her.
While many Democrats disagreed with the Biden administration’s move to quickly eliminate Title 42 regulations preventing asylum claims from being processed at the southern border due to the pandemic, she went further away. She went to the border, recorded a digital video there and said that parts of the border wall still needed to be built.
Open letters to Hassan from Latino groups began appearing on the web. Then a Democratic state representative gave a speech against him that did the rounds. Hassan must lock in all the Democratic votes she can get in November.
New poll shows race is tied
With an unpopular incumbent and unknown challengers facing off in swing state, it should perhaps come as no surprise that a University of New Hampshire poll on Thursday found Hassan statistically tied with all Republican candidates.
In the poll, only 35% of New Hampshire voters had a favorable opinion of her while 51% had an unfavorable opinion. The field of Republican candidates was mostly unknown. But in good news for Hassan, those who knew the challengers viewed them unfavorably.
National parties are yet to spend money on the contest
With such a tight race, you would think there would be national money flooding the state. But that didn’t happen. This week, political action committees aligned with McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer earmarked $141 million in TV ad spots in seven Senate battleground states.
New Hampshire, where Hassan has a huge fundraising advantage, was not one of them. This could be an indication that politicians in Washington are as unsure of the direction of this race as everyone else in New Hampshire.