Democrats’ big Senate super PAC is diving into New Hampshire ahead of the state’s Sept. 13 primary, bashing a more establishment-aligned GOP candidate while another group spends millions trying to boost him to the nomination.
A new commercial funded by Senate Majority PAC and airing across the state calls New Hampshire state Senate President Chuck Morse the choice of “Mitch McConnell’s Washington establishment” and “another sleazy politician,” tying him to the lobbying industry and opioids.
Morse is a more moderate Republican in the race to take on Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan in what could be one of the nation’s biggest battleground campaigns this fall — earlier Friday, Senate Leadership Fund, the McConnell-aligned super PAC, announced plans to reserve $23 million in TV ad time in the state for the general election.
But Morse has been trailing in GOP primary polls to Don Bolduc, a far-right retired Army general who served 10 tours in Afghanistan and is seen as a more beatable candidate for Hassan this fall.
Senate Majority PAC’s new ad is hitting the airwaves just as a Republican group has started boosting Morse with a multi-million dollar ad buy, including spots calling him “one tough conservative,” as he tries to overtake Bolduc. The group, White Mountain PAC, was just formed this week and has already purchased at least $3.5 million in ad time ahead of the primary, according to AdImpact.
While the Democratic spot is not an outright boost of a pro-Trump candidate in a Republican primary, it does fit into a broader pattern of Democratic ads affecting GOP nominating contests this primary season. Democratic groups in other states, including one funded by Senate Majority PAC in Colorado, have spent tens of millions of dollars boosting less-electable Republicans in primaries this year, often by tying them to former President Donald Trump.
However, Senate Majority PAC’s new ad doesn’t mention Bolduc, only going after Morse — and on terms that could work in the general election, too.
According to AdImpact, Senate Majority PAC has purchased approximately $3.1 million in ad time between now and the New Hampshire primary. The commercial is running in the Boston, Portland, Maine, and Burlington, Vt. media markets.
“Maggie Hassan and her dark money allies are just confirming what they already know: Chuck Morse is surging in the polls, and he’s the best positioned candidate to beat her this November,” Morse communications director Maya Harvey said about the Senate Majority PAC ad.
The New Hampshire seat is one of the core battlegrounds at the center of the midterm map, which could see control of the 50-50 Senate change hands.
Bolduc has held the lead in public polling of the Republican primary, taking 43 percent support to 22 percent for Chuck Morse in recent public polling from the University of New Hampshire. Bolduc has leaned into Trump’s election conspiracy theories on the campaign trail, and he has stoked controversy with comments about Ukraine and China during the primary. Trump has notably steered clear from this primary battle, choosing not to endorse any candidate.
Despite being behind in polling and becoming the topic of a big ad war in the closing days of the primary, Morse’s team remains confident he can win the primary.
“Chuck Schumer can throw as many daggers as he wants,” Harvey said, dismissing the new Democratic ad.