Two months after Chris Sununu snubbed Rick Scott and Senate Republicans by declining to pursue a U.S. Senate run, Kevin Smith and Chuck Morse are now both running for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire, joining Don Bolduc in a primary field that’s suddenly rapidly-expanding.
That’s despite some Granite State Republicans’ best — but ultimately futile — efforts to prevent a large and likely combative primary contest that will stretch until the state’s “brutally late” September 13, 2022 primary election date.
- Kevin Smith ran a failed campaign for governor in 2012, and has previously backed efforts to ban abortion and supported defunding Planned Parenthood as well as imprisoning physicians who perform abortions. During his 2012 gubernatorial campaign, Smith opposed New Hampshire’s Medicaid expansion and railed against the Affordable Care Act’s “coverage mandates” like those that require insurance companies to offer coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. Smith has also been a vocal opponent of marriage equality, even calling for the “rolling back” of New Hampshire’s marriage equality law.
- Like Smith, Chuck Morse has a well-documented record of opposing abortion rights. Morse has supported defunding Planned Parenthood. And as state Senate President, Morse was part of the legislative leadership team that added a highly-restrictive abortion ban to New Hampshire’s most recent budget, requiring mandatory ultrasounds for all people seeking abortion health care and punishment for doctors who provide abortions.
Smith and Morse aren’t the only candidates rumored to join this rapidly-expanding GOP primary. Frank Edelblut and Bill Binnie have also expressed an interest in jumping in — which would round out the field to five “B-tier candidates,” as one “veteran New Hampshire GOP strategist” assessed to Cook Political Report.
The upshot: We’re looking at an extremely crowded and very competitive GOP Senate primary that will last until early next fall and leave no Republican candidate undamaged, while Democrats are united behind Sen. Maggie Hassan, who is delivering for Granite Staters in Congress and putting up record-setting fundraising numbers.