Tag Archives: Chuck Morse

The Turnout Precursor

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022

Retired Army Gen. Don Bolduc (R)

While the New Hampshire results are not completely final, retired Army Gen. Don Bolduc has been projected as the Republican primary winner and he now advances to face Sen. Maggie Hassan (D).

The senator’s campaign wasted no time in attacking Bolduc, hitting him with an abortion ad the day after the primary ended.

Gen. Bolduc’s margin of victory over state Senate President Chuck Morse (R-Salem) will be in the neighborhood of 1,800 votes when all the counting is finally complete.

Turnout was robust. It appears the New Hampshire Republican primary will feature, when the counts become official, approximately 145,000 voters. This is an extraordinarily high figure, since it is only about 8,000 short of the number who participated in the 2020 first-in-the-nation New Hampshire presidential primary.

The Democratic side will have drawn only approximately 95,000 when all of the towns and counties finally report, though Sen. Hassan and state Sen. Tom Sherman (D-Rye) were largely unopposed in the Senate and governor’s race.

The presidential nomination election, which in many ways becomes an economic industry in New Hampshire because of the major campaign spending from so many national campaigns that is associated with winning the first vote in the nominating process, last drew 153,674 GOP voters. Typically, turnout for the presidential primaries are close to general election participation levels.

The 2nd Congressional District Republican race was just as close as the Senate campaign, but it now appears certain that former Hillsborough County Treasurer Robert Burns defeated Keene Mayor George Hansel by just under three percentage points or a little over 1,600 votes. He now advances to face five-term Rep. Annie Kuster (D-Hopkinton/Concord).

The 1st District was decided on Tuesday night, and former Trump White House aide Karoline Leavitt will officially challenge two-term Rep. Chris Pappas (D-Manchester) in one of the most politically volatile congressional districts in the country.

Though former President Trump did not endorse a candidate in the Senate race, his supporters had a big night on Tuesday and are largely credited with delivering the victories for Bolduc, Leavitt, and Burns. It remains to be seen how the national Republican committees respond, since there was clear consternation among the party leadership about the candidates and Bolduc, in particular.

Yesterday, however, Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), the National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman, said his committee remains fully committed to New Hampshire as a key target race. The organization has over $9 million in media time already reserved for the Granite State’s general election.

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Gen. Bolduc Leads;
Gov. McKee Survives

By Jim Ellis — Sept. 14, 2022

The Final Primaries

Retired Army Gen. Don Bolduc (R)

New Hampshire — The last major US Senate primary is close to concluding as retired Army Gen. Don Bolduc, despite being wildly outspent, appears to have turned back state Senate President Chuck Morse’s late race momentum and is staked to a one-point, 37-36 percent lead (1,270 votes) in the New Hampshire Republican Senate primary with 85 percent of the expected vote counted.

Though the margin is tight, it is most likely that Gen. Bolduc will advance into a shortened general election cycle against incumbent Sen. Maggie Hassan (D).

A great deal of controversy surrounded this primary, particularly a verbal sparring battle between Gen. Bolduc and Gov. Chris Sununu (R). Both had unflattering things to say about the other, and now it will be interesting if we see a quick healing between the two. No doubt Democrats will use the governor’s words against Bolduc. Even before the votes were tabulated, however, Gov. Sununu was sending more conciliatory signals and stressing the importance of Republicans uniting to defeat Sen. Hassan, whom he says, “nobody likes.”

Though Bolduc was viewed as the weakest general election candidate in the field of six, head-to-head test polling didn’t show him any further behind Sen. Hassan than those, such as Sen. Morse, who were viewed as the better options to become the Republican standard bearer.

The Republican leadership will now have a difficult decision about how to proceed. Do they invest heavily in this race to back a candidate who they believe is weak even though Sen. Hassan appears vulnerable in a state that could easily swing Republican, or to do they cut their losses early and transfer the funds to another place where their chances for victory might be brighter? It will be interesting to see what they decide.
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Final Primary Preview

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022

We have finally reached the end of primary season, as voters in three northeastern states will cast their nomination ballots today. Once these votes are counted, all of the stand-alone primary states will have nominated their general election candidates. At that point only Louisiana, which holds its qualification election concurrently with the general, will remain in primary mode.

Each of the states holding their primaries are in the east, with New England’s New Hampshire and Rhode Island on the schedule along with Delaware in the Mid-Atlantic region.

New Hampshire — The most noteworthy primary is the New Hampshire Republican Senate race, complete with its share of controversy. Polling leader Don Bolduc, a retired Army General who ran unsuccessfully in 2020 (failing to prevail in the Republican primary in order to challenge Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen), and Gov. Chris Sununu (R) have been in a public war of words. Gen. Bolduc accused the governor of being a “communist sympathizer” and that his family’s business supports terrorism. The governor retorted that Bolduc is a “conspiracy theory type” who is not “a serious candidate.”

Many in the Republican Party, including Gov. Sununu, believe that Gen. Bolduc will not be a strong enough nominee against Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) even though polling shows that she is vulnerable. The governor has endorsed state Senate President Chuck Morse (R-Salem), who seems to be the only viable competitor who could deny Bolduc the nomination among the 10 others on the ballot.

The latest available Senate poll, this from the University of New Hampshire (Aug. 25-29; 892 likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters; online), found Gen. Bolduc leading Sen. Morse, 43-22 percent. Since this poll was conducted, however, some $4 million has been spent attempting to deny Bolduc the nomination, and Democratic organizations have come from the outside to help him win the primary since they, too, believe that he would be easiest for Sen. Hassan to beat.

The retired General is at an extreme financial disadvantage, so he has little ability to promote himself. This race will draw the most attention tonight.

New Hampshire’s two congressional districts also feature competitive Republican primaries. Both seats will be hotly contested in the general election because Reps. Chris Pappas (D-Manchester) and Annie Kuster (D-Hopkinton/Concord) are clear Republican targets.

Another crowded ten-person Republican 1st District primary appears to be coming down to a battle among 2020 nominee Matt Mowers, who held Rep. Pappas to a 51-46 percent re-election victory before an electorate that has defeated more incumbents than any other in the nation, former Trump White House aide Karoline Leavitt, and ex-television news reporter Gail Huff Brown, wife of former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R). Polling suggests that Mowers has the slight edge heading into election day.

In the western 2nd District, the Republican race is a two-way battle between former Hillsborough County Treasurer Robert Burns and Keene Mayor George Hansel. Should Burns win the GOP nomination, and polling suggests he will, his challenge opposite Rep. Kuster will be formidable.

Rhode Island — The most notable race on the Rhode Island card is the Democratic primary for governor. Dan McKee assumed the governorship when incumbent Gina Raimondo (D) resigned to accept her appointment as US Commerce Secretary.

The new governor, running for a first full term in his own right, has four Democratic challengers, and a close outcome in tomorrow’s primary is expected. McKee’s four opponents are Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, businesswoman Helena Foulkes, former Secretary of State Matt Brown, and physician Luis Daniel Munoz. It appears the race is winnowing to a battle between Gov. McKee and Gorbea. Today’s winner becomes the prohibitive favorite in the general election.

Delaware — With no governor or senator on the ballot this year, the Delaware primary is basically a non-event. At-large Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Wilmington) is unopposed in the Democratic primary, and educator/actor Lee Murphy is the only candidate on the Republican side. The general election will not be competitive, since Rep. Blunt Rochester is a lock for re-election.

Palin Loses in Alaska; Walker Leads in Second Poll in Georgia, Kemp Holds Edge; Gen. Bolduc Again Leading in NH; Gov. McMaster’s SC Quest

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022

House

Former state Rep. Mary Peltola (D) wins the Alaska special election race.

AK-AL: Sarah Palin Loses Special Election — Former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin fell to Democrat Mary Peltola in the at-large Alaska special election, which marked the first full usage of the state’s new Ranked Choice Voting system.
At the end of the final counting, 60 percent of voters chose a Republican candidate, but the RCV system yielded a Democratic victor. Therefore, in a system that is designed to create a majority candidate, in this case it produced a minority vote share winner.

The finalists were Peltola, who recorded 40.2 percent of the vote; Palin, who secured 31.3 percent, and Nick Begich III (R), the grandson of former Democratic US Rep. Nick Begich, and the nephew of former US senator and ex-Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich (D), who captured 28.5 percent. Finishing third, Begich was eliminated from further competition, and his first-place votes were located and then distributed to the other candidates via the voters’ ranking. In the end, Peltola defeated Palin by a 5,219 votes; another 14,965 ballots were disqualified in the Ranked Choice Voting process.

Senate

Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) and Republican challenger Herschel Walker[/caption]Georgia: Walker Leading in Second Poll — Previously, an early August Phillips Academy poll projected Republican Herschel Walker to be holding a slight 45-44 percent lead over Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) after trailing in seven of eight July surveys. Emerson College released the result of their most recent Georgia survey Tuesday (Aug. 28-29; 600 likely Georgia general election voters; interactive voice response system, text, and online), which found Walker posting an almost identical 46-44 percent edge, again providing more evidence that this race is a long way from being over.

New Hampshire: Gen. Bolduc Again Leading — In mid-August, when St. Anselm College released a survey showing retired Army general and 2020 US Senate Republican candidate Don Bolduc developing a substantial lead for the Sept. 13 GOP Senate primary, Gov. Chris Sununu (R) went public in an attempt to negate his advantage. Many believe, including Gov. Sununu, that Gen. Bolduc would lose to Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) in November. Previously, Gen. Bolduc had accused Gov. Sununu of being “a Chinese communist sympathizer,” among other comments that created bad blood between the two men.

The University of New Hampshire (Aug. 25-29; 892 likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters; online) reported the results of their new statewide survey. According to the UNH Granite State Poll, Gen. Bolduc continues to lead state Senate President Chuck Morse (R-Salem) by over 20 points, 43-22 percent, with three other candidates languishing in low single digits.

Georgia: Kemp Again Holds Advantage — The aforementioned Emerson College survey (see Georgia Senate above) also tested the Peach State governor’s race between incumbent Brian Kemp (R) and challenger Stacey Abrams (D) who returns for a re-match from their close 2018 contest. The Emerson results give Gov. Kemp a 48-44 percent edge, which appears as a consistent margin routinely found in eleven of 12 July-August polls in which the incumbent held an edge. The lone outlier poll, a Research Affiliates study that concluded on Aug. 1, found the two candidates tied at 47 percent apiece.

South Carolina: Gov. McMaster Leading in Re-election Poll — Gov. Henry McMaster (R) succeeded then-Gov. Nikki Haley (R) when she resigned her office in 2017 to become US Ambassador to the United Nations. McMaster would then win a full term in 2018, and now seeks re-election. Because of the state’s former one and now two-term limit, winning re-election this year and serving most of the next term would make McMaster the longest-serving governor in state history.

The Trafalgar Group, as part of their nationwide polling series (Aug. 25-28; 1,071 likely South Carolina general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) tested the Palmetto State electorate and sees Gov. McMaster jumping out to a 51-43 percent lead over former Congressman Joe Cunningham, who won the Democratic nomination back in the June primary. Four years ago, Gov. McMaster was re-elected with a 54-46 percent margin.

Alaska: Peltola, Palin Advance; Murkowski, Tshibaka to General; Wyoming Rep. Cheney Loses Big

By Jim Ellis — August 17, 2022

Primary Results

Former state Rep. Mary Peltola (D) is leading the Alaska special election race to fill the state’s at-large congressional district.

Alaska: Peltola, Palin Advance; Murkowski, Tshibaka to General — With just under 70 percent of the voting tabulated, and as expected by consolidating the smaller Democratic vote, former state Rep. Mary Peltola (D) is leading the special election race to fill the state’s at-large congressional district left vacant when veteran Rep. Don Young (R-Ft. Yukon) passed away in March.

Former governor and vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin (R) holds a 5,266 vote lead over Nick Begich III (R) for the all-important second place position. Under Alaska’s new voting procedure, ballots postmarked yesterday have until Aug. 31 to reach the county clerk’s office and be tabulated. The extra time is important for the outlying rural areas to be included.

Second position is so important because the third-place finisher in this electoral situation, at this point that being Begich, will be eliminated and the Ranked Choice Voting process will begin. If Begich is eliminated, the ballots listing him as the first choice will be found and the second choice votes from only these ballots will be added to the process. The eventual winner will immediately be sworn into the House. All three of the aforementioned candidates also advanced into the regular general election.

Alaska republican Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka

Turning to the US Senate race, incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R), running for a fourth full term, is first at this point in the counting process with 43.7 percent of the vote among 19 jungle primary candidates, and just ahead of former Alaska Director of Administration Kelly Tshibaka (R), who former President Trump long ago endorsed. Tshibaka’s current vote percentage is 40.4. It appears Democrat Patricia Chesbro (6.2 percent) is well-positioned to take a distant third place; vying for the fourth and final position are Republicans Buzz Kelley and Pat Nolin.

In the governor’s race, incumbent Mike Dunleavy (R) looks to have secured first position with 41.7 percent of the jungle primary vote among 10 candidates. Also clinching general election ballot slots are former state Rep. Les Gara (D) with 22.0 percent of the vote, and ex-Gov. Bill Walker (I) who so far has posted a close 21.9 percent. The final general election qualifying position appears undecided between two Republicans, Charlie Pierce and Christopher Kurka.

At-Large Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney (R)

Wyoming: As Expected, Rep. Cheney Loses Big — Early in the counting process, it was clear that At-Large Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wilson/Jackson) would lose her US House seat to attorney Harriet Hageman, the candidate former President Donald Trump supported early.

The vote count was a landslide in favor of Hageman — 66-29 percent — who ran a measured campaign. Her theme was concentrating on serving the constituency while highlighting that Rep. Cheney used the position to fulfill her own political goals.

Incumbent Sen. Cheney carried only her home county of Teton, which houses the cities of Jackson and Jackson Hole, and southeastern Albany County; Hagman topped the vote totals in the state’s other 21 counties. Republican turnout overwhelmed that of the Democrats, 170,409 to just 7,233 ballots cast, suggesting that a large number of the latter party’s members did what Cheney asked them to do and crossed over to vote for her in the Republican primary.

The GOP turnout was up 58.7 percent compared to 2020, while Democratic participation was down 30.7 percent, providing more evidence that a significant number of Democrats voted in the Republican primary. Two years ago, Cheney won a contested Republican primary with 73.5 percent of the vote, and scored a 68.6 percent win in the general election.

Hageman will now face the new Democratic nominee, Native American community activist Lynette Grey Bull, the 2020 party standard bearer against Cheney. Hageman now becomes the prohibitive favorite to win the general election.

Senate

New Hampshire: Candidate Staked to Big Lead — St. Anselm’s College released the results of their quarterly poll of Granite State voters, this one taken a month before the state’s late primary election. This New Hampshire sampling universe (Aug. 9-11; 1,898 registered New Hamshire voters; 900 likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters; live interview), as have those from two other St. Anselm’s 2022 polls, sees President Biden with an upside-down job approval rating. Biden registers 42:57 percent favorable to unfavorable status.

Republicans hold a three-point lead on the generic party vote questions, and 68 percent of the respondents believe the country is on the wrong track versus just 21 percent who believe America is headed in the right direction. Democrats have a clear advantage on the abortion issue by a 49-23 percent margin.

In the Senate GOP primary, retired general and 2020 Senate candidate Don Bolduc holds a significant 32-16-4-4 percent advantage over state Senate President Chuck Morse (R-Salem), former Londonderry Town Manager Kevin Smith, and investor Bruce Fenton, respectively.

House

NH-1: 2020 Nominee Mowers Leading in New Poll — The co/efficient survey research firm tested the upcoming Sept. 13 Republican congressional field in the state’s swing 1st District. New Hampshire’s eastern CD has defeated more incumbents than any seat in the country since the 2004 election.

In the Republican primary where candidates hope to challenge Rep. Chris Pappas (D-Manchester) in the general election, the survey (Aug. 13-14; 829 likely NH-1 Republican primary voters; live interview & text) projects 2020 nominee Matt Mowers to be leading the field with 31 percent support. Former Trump White House media aide Karoline Leavitt 16 percent, state Rep. Tim Baxter (R-Portsmouth) nine percent, and former news reporter and wife of ex-Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R), Gail Huff Brown, at eight percent preference. This district electorate will once again witness a highly competitive general election.