LEWANDOWSKI: It Took A Retired General To Build An Army Of New Hampshire Republican Voters At The Ballot Box

Tuesday’s primary in New Hampshire demonstrated once again why grassroots are so important in electoral success. Some candidates rely on money — either their own or spent on their behalf from outside groups to try and convince voters they are the best for the job or that their opponent isn’t qualified.

What this week’s election in New Hampshire proved is how old fashion hard work and grit pays off at the ballot box.

The U.S. Senate race came down to two candidates in the final stretch. Retired Gen. Don Bolduc vs. State Senate President Chuck Morse. Mr. Bolduc, who sought the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate in 2020 and lost had essentially never stop running for the seat.

He spent most of the past two years building a grassroots army around the Granite State. By comparison, Sen. Morse, who entered the race at the beginning of 2022 relied on a more traditional model of campaigning. He spoke about his success at the state capitol and his ability to demonstrate fiscal constraint. However, he did not instill the same passion that Mr. Bolduc instilled in an electorate who is tired of promises of a better tomorrow with limited results.

While the race came down to the wire, and with no endorsement from former President Donald Trump, outside groups painted Mr. Bolduc as unelectable in the general election. They ran commercials showing Mr. Morse at the border and touting his endorsement of the state’s largest newspaper but it wasn’t enough to overcome the groundswell Mr. Bolduc cultivate and released on election day.

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Whether Mr. Bolduc can be successful in November will be decided on his ability to message to a larger, more moderate audience in the general election. With incumbent US Senator Maggie Hassan consistently hovering around the 45% approval rating — the race is clearly within reach.

It should also be noted that two other grassroots candidates who were heavily outspend were victorious on primary night. Karoline Leavitt, the 25-year-old tenacious campaigner who beat back a barrage of outside money to walk away with the Republican nomination in the 1st Congressional District.

Estimates are that Ms. Leavitt had north of $5 Million spent against her in the primary – a sum almost unheard of in New Hampshire. But, her grassroots team, coupled with her never quit attitude yielder her a 9% victory over her closest rival in a field of nine total challengers.

Ms. Leavitt faces similar challenges as Mr. Bolduc with pivoting her message to embrace a larger and much more moderate general election audience however, I am confident she will be able to do that and go out to serve as one of the youngest members of Congress. Her future is bright — and she has the fire in the belly to do what it takes to win.

In the 2nd Congressional, Mr. Robert “Bob” Burns vanquished Keene Mayor and Governor Sununu backed George Hansel. Mayor Hansel ran a “traditional” campaign with television and radio advertising but lacked the grassroots team that Mr. Burns had working every day with his message of economic freedom. Mr. Burns ran as an unapologetic Trump supporter and was rewarded with an almost three point margin of victory in a field of seven candidates.

These races all go to show that what President Trump did in 2016 in the New Hampshire primaries can be replicated to continue electoral success.  Building a grassroots army is only the first step to victory.

Winning the primary is a necessary step but isn’t the end goal. Now we will see if each of these three candidates can go on and achieve victory in November — the true test of success.

Corey Lewandowski is a former Trump 2016 campaign manager and 2020 senior adviser. The author is not currently working for any candidates on the New Hampshire ballot.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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