Decision '22

Final primaries of 2022 election cycle show divisions in GOP

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(WASHINGTON) — The 2022 primary season is coming to a close with the cycle’s final contests being held Tuesday in New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Delaware.

All eyes are on New Hampshire as the state features some of the most competitive races in the nation.

One of New Hampshire’s Senate seats is up for grabs with Democrat Maggie Hassan seeking reelection and Republicans believe they can pick up the seat as part of their drive to retake control of Congress.

With New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu opting not to run in the GOP Senate primary, a crowded Republican field emerged as a result. GOP retired Army Brig. Gen. Don Bolduc and state Senate President Chuck Morse are seen as the leading candidates.

Bolduc has become known for his hard-line views. In the past, he has called Sununu a “Chinese Communist sympathizer,” has pushed for the appeal of the 17th Amendment codifying direct popular election of U.S. senators and has raised abolishing the FBI.

Meanwhile, the GOP establishment in the Granite State hopes that Morse can defeat Bolduc in the primary. Morse is running on issues including inflation and parents’ rights in education that voters have said are important to them this election cycle.

Meanwhile, Democrats have also meddled in the New Hampshire Senate race boosting Bolduc, who they see as the weakest candidate to go up against Hassan in the general election. This is a similar tactic that has been played out in other competitive midterm elections where Democrats, during the primary, try to elevate the most right-wing candidate who may then prove weaker with the broader electorate in the general election.

The battle for control of the House also runs through New Hampshire, as the state’s only two congressional districts are in play.

In the state’s highly competitive 1st Congressional District, Democratic incumbent Rep. Chris Pappas must defend his seat against whoever emerges as the Republican nominee in the GOP primary. Although there are several candidates in the race, the top two players are former Trump White House adviser Matt Mowers and former White House press aide Karoline Leavitt.

Although both candidates are supporters of former President Donald Trump, Mowers has called for regular audits of elections but acknowledges that Joe Biden won the 2020 election, while Leavitt pushes false claims about the 2020 election.

The GOP primary in the district has also caused a divide among Republican leadership House GOP leadership. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Minority Whip Steve Scalise have backed Mowers, while GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik has endorsed Leavitt, her former press secretary.

As for the state’s 2nd Congressional District, the two frontrunners are Keene Mayor George Hansel and former Hillsborough County Treasurer Robert Burns. Whoever emerges as the winner will face off against Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster.

In Rhode Island’s gubernatorial race, all the action is in the Democratic primary.

Gov. Dan McKee is looking to win a full term after moving from lieutenant governor following then-Gov. Gina Raimondo’s appointment to Biden’s cabinet in 2021. But although McKee has been the sitting governor since 2001, the road to securing the Democratic nomination won’t be easy. Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea and former CVS Health executive Helena Foulkes are also seen as strong candidates in the Democratic primary for governor.

In the state’s 2nd Congressional District, Democratic Rep. Jim Langevin is retiring, leaving the seat open. The leading candidate in the race is Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner. Throughout his campaign, he has spoken on protecting abortion rights and social security.

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