Pro Trump Candidates Take Top GOP Posts in N.H. Primary

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Former Trump aide Karoline Leavitt had a commanding victory over Matt Mowers, a former aide to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former NH State Republican Party executive director for the GOP nomination to the 1st Congressional District seat.


CONCORD — Three solid Trump supporters won the Republican nominations for the three federal offices in Tuesday’s primary election, while two candidates endorsed by Gov. Chris Sununu failed to win their party’s nominations.

Sununu cruised to victory easily defeating his five opponents and will face Democrat Dr. Thomas Sherman, who ran unopposed for his party’s gubernatorial nomination.

Sununu received about 79 percent of the GOP vote, which totaled about 140,000 in unofficial and yet to be finalized results.

The hotly contested contests at the top of the ticket were the GOP nominations for US Senate and US House and two of the three races were within a couple of percentage points.

Retired Gen. Donald Bolduc eked out a victory over Senate President Chuck Morse with former Londonderry town manager Kevin Smith finishing third. Bolduc received 51,098 votes or 37 percent, Morse 49,483 or 36 percent and Smith 16,164 or 12 percent with the other three candidates finishing in single-digit percentages.

In his victory speech, Bolduc appeared with a shield with three arrows stuck in it which drew national attention. Trump praised Bolduc’s showing, but did not endorse him.

Morse was endorsed by Sununu and was helped by tens of millions of dollars of advertising by the GOP PAC run by US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, but it was not enough.

US Sen. incumbent Democrat Maggie Hassan easily won her primary.

The biggest winner in the race for control of the US Senate and House was former Trump aide Karoline Leavitt with a commanding victory over Matt Mowers, a former aide to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former NH State Republican Party executive director as they sought the GOP nomination to the 1st Congressional District seat.

Leavitt received 25,461 votes or 35 percent in topping the six-candidate field, while Mowers received 18,638 votes or 25 percent. Gail Huff Brown finished third with 17.5 percent and former Executive Councilor Russ Prescott received 10 percent, while the other two were in single digits.

Mowers won the GOP nomination two years ago, but lost to incumbent Democrat Chris Pappas, who ran unopposed in the primary.

The closest contest was in the 2nd Congressional District race for the GOP nomination with Robert Burns edging out Keene Mayor George Hansel, who was endorsed by Sununu.

Burns received 20,097 votes or 33 percent, while Hansell received 18,513 or 30 percent. Lily Tang Williams finished third with 15,297 votes or 25 percent, with three other candidates receiving single-digit support.

Incumbent 2nd District Congressman Ann McLane Kuster ran unopposed to win the Democratic nomination.

Executive Council

There were few races in the five redrawn Executive Council districts.

The Democratic nomination for the Second District seat pitted current councilor Cinde Warmington against former councilor Michael Cryans and Bradford Todd.

Warmington received about 80 percent of the vote, while Cryans received 16 percent and Todd 4 percent.

Warmington will face former state Sen. Harold French in the November general election in the very Democratic leaning seat.

French received 67 percent of the vote in the Republican primary against Kim Strathdee.

The race for the GOP nomination for the District 4 seat pitted GOP incumbent Ted Gatsas against Terese Grinnell. Gatsas received 72 percent of the vote, and will face former state Sen. Kevin Cavanaugh in the general election.

Republican Incumbent District 5 Councilor David Wheeler had little trouble defeating Anne Copp receiving 77 percent of the vote. Wheeler will face Nashua Alderman Shoshanna Kelly in the general election.

In District 1, GOP incumbent Joe Kenney will face Democrat and Somersworth Mayor Dana Hilliard in the general election. Both candidates were unopposed in the primary.

In District 3, GOP incumbent Janet Stevens will face Democrat Katherine Harake, as both candidates ran unopposed. 

State Senate

Several House members are attempting to move up to the Senate after the primary election, and several will not make it.

The two candidates for the 1st District were unopposed. Democratic Rep. Edith Tucker will face Republican Carrie Gendreau in the general election.

With incomplete results for the District 2 seat, House member Rep. Timothy Lang leads Dave DeVoy by about 300 votes with 96 percent of the vote counted. John Plumer finished third.

The winner will face Democrat Kate Miller in the general election.

Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley won his GOP primary against Nancy Cunning for the District 3 seat. Bradley will face Democratic Rep. Bill Marsh in the general election.

In the District 4 race, both candidates were unopposed. Incumbent Democratic Sen. David Watters will face Republican Seamus Casey in the very Democratically leaning district.

District 5 also features two unopposed primary candidates: Democratic incumbent Sue Prentiss will face Republican John McIntyre in the general election.

District 6 also features two unopposed candidates: incumbent GOP Sen. James Gray will face Democrat Ruth Lawson in the general election.

In the open District 7 race, Daniel Innis won a GOP primary over Thomas Dunne with 63 percent of the vote and will face Democrat Richard Lobban in the general election.

In District 8, GOP incumbent Ruth Ward will face Democrat and former Claremont Mayor Charlene Lovett.

In District 9, GOP incumbent Denise Ricciardi will face Democrat Matthew McLaughlin in the general election.

The District 10 seat featured primaries in both parties. Democrat Donovan Fenton defeated Bobby Williams with 67 percent of the vote. On the Republican side, Sly Karasinski defeated former free stater Ian Freeman with 64 percent of the vote.

In District 11, GOP incumbent Gary Daniels easily defeated John Frechette and will face Shannon Chandley in a rematch from the 2018 and 2020 elections.

In another three-time rematch in District 12, incumbent GOP Sen. Kevin Avard will face Democrat Melania Levesque.

In District 13, incumbent Democrat Cindy Rosenwald will face either Stephen Scaer or Daniel Paul in a GOP race that was not decided.

In District 14, GOP incumbent Sharon Carson will face Democrat John Robinson.

In District 15, Democratic incumbent Becky Whitley will face Republican Linda Banfill.

A GOP primary that had not been declared between two House members seeking the District 16 seat, Michael Yakubovich and Barbara Griffin. The winner will face Democrat Jane Trisciani, who ran a write-in campaign.

In District 17, House member Harold Pearl won a GOP primary against Scott Bryer and will face Democrat Christine Tappan in the general election.

Former House member George Lambert won a GOP primary against Ross Terrio with 55 percent of the vote in the District 18 race, and will face incumbent Senate Minority Leader Donna Soucy in the general election. This will be a rematch from several elections ago that Soucy won.

In District 19, GOP incumbent Regina Birdsell is unopposed.

The District 20 race will pit Democratic incumbent and Senate Dean Lou D’Allesandro against Republican former Manchester city official Richard Girard.

In District 21, Democratic incumbent Rebecca Perkins Kwoka is unopposed.

Two House members vied for the GOP nomination for the District 22 seat vacated by Senate President Chuck Morse to run for US Senate. Daryl Abbas defeated Paul Torosian with 55 percent of the vote, and will face Democrat Wayne Haubner in the general election.

District 23 GOP incumbent Bill Gannon will face Democrat Brenda Oldak in the general election.

And in District 24, House member Democrat Debra Altschiller will face Republican Lou Gargiulo in the general election.

Garry Rayno may be reached at

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