In key New Hampshire congressional race, Trump casts long shadow
The competitors seems to be tight in a district that features Manchester, the state’s largest metropolis, and far of jap New Hampshire from the seashore to the Mount Washington Valley. Though a St. Anselm College ballot in late September gave Pappas an eight-point lead, a ballot by AARP earlier this month confirmed the incumbent up only a share level.
RealClearPolitics, a non-partisan political information web site, described Friday’s race because the “Leans GOP.”
“It’s an inherently competitive district and this is a year where Republican candidates have tailwind,” mentioned Fergus Cullen, Dover Councilor and former Republican state chief. “There are very few districts across the country that are typically in play, but this district is one of them.”
Republicans solely have to win 5 extra seats to regain management of the House, and since their shock main win cash has flowed from GOP powerbrokers into Leavitt’s marketing campaign.though she had beforehand been shunned by many. If elected, Leavitt would turn into the youngest girl to ever serve in Congress.
“We’re going to win this race because voters are feeling the very real ramifications of the agenda that Chris Pappas supported,” Leavitt mentioned after a latest debate with Pappas. “You feel the inflation of 8.2 percent. They feel the exploding energy costs.”
Leavitt additionally mentioned New Hampshire voters had been extra involved about an alarming enhance in opioid overdoses and deaths “due to the scourge of fentanyl,” a development she linked to porous border safety.
Pappas, in the meantime, has questioned whether or not Leavitt qualifies for Congress on condition that her solely grownup work expertise was as a “political screenwriter” who served as deputy press secretary on the Trump White House.
After Trump’s defeat within the 2020 election, Leavitt briefly served as communications director for Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, who grew to become chair of the House of Representatives Republican Conference after Liz Cheney was ousted.
“I think you’re better off with someone who has a track record of working across the aisle,” Pappas, 42, mentioned between marketing campaign visits to small companies in central Manchester. “She is an election denier. She wants to write the Social Security Privatization Bill.”
A number of hours later, in a debate at St. Anselm’s, Pappas described Leavitt as “one of the most radical candidates we’ve ever seen nominated for public office in New Hampshire.”
In 2021, Leavitt mentioned Trump gained the election in separate interviews with WMUR in New Hampshire and Steve Bannon, an aide to the previous president.in his podcast. In addition to denigrating the 2020 outcomes, Pappas mentioned, Leavitt is at odds with most Granite State voters in supporting the Supreme Court ruling that restricted entry to abortion underneath Roe v. Wade was overturned and by opposing the Affordable Care Act.
In distinction, Pappas mentioned he has sought widespread floor with Republicans on laws similar to the huge infrastructure invoice handed underneath President Biden and efforts to strengthen border safety by deploying extra brokers and higher interdiction expertise.
Pappas mentioned he is additionally labored to decrease prescription drug costs, deal with opioid abuse and supply higher look after veterans.
“We’re all on the same team after all and we need to start behaving like that,” Pappas mentioned on the debate, hosted by the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce.
Leavitt, a St. Anselm graduate who based a broadcasting membership there and as soon as described herself as the faculty’s “icon conservatives,” has championed a widely known litany of GOP allegations and says Democrats assist: excessive Taxes, creeping gun management, rampant immigration, “police defunding”, weakened navy power and the educating of essential racial idea in faculties.
But the overarching downside for Leavitt is inflation, which she says has been costing the common New Hampshire household a further $600 a month.
“Are you, your employees and your families better off than eight years ago? The answer is no,” Leavitt said during the debate.
Both candidates draw heavily on their family experience of small businesses.
Pappas comes from a Greek-American family who has run a restaurant in Manchester for 105 years, where he says he washed dishes and set tables. Leavitt said she learned the value of hard work during summers spent scooping ice cream at the family’s booth in Atkinson.
“My upbringing instilled in me a relentless work ethic,” Leavitt says on her campaign website. There she also wrote: “I worked tirelessly on an application for a White House position of service to the American people and President Donald J. Trump, and I was accepted.”
But above the core issues, questions still arise about her connection to the Trump agenda and whether that hurts or helps her in a state Trump won in 2016but lost four years later.
The former president endorsed Leavitt last week, writing in an email that “Karoline Leavitt is amazing. Vote for them and win. She has my complete and unreserved approval!”
As of Friday, nevertheless, Leavitt had not, amongst different issues, posted that affirmation on her web site or included Trump’s announcement in information in regards to the marketing campaign. In the previous, she has known as Trump “certainly the greatest president in the history of my life.”
“I think it helped her win the primary and I think it’s a slight disadvantage in the general election,” Cullen, the previous state GOP chairman, mentioned of Leavitt’s connection to Trump.
“She cannot pretend that there is independence between her and the President. She worked for the guy, she’s a full-throated election denier, and that’s a huge dog whistle,” Cullen said, adding that he won’t be voting for her.
“For me, it’s a disqualifying issue,” Cullen said of the refusal to vote. “I don’t care what their position is on anything else.”
In an interview, Leavitt deflected questions about whether she believes the 2020 election was stolen.
“I made myself very clear. I believe there were irregularities in the 2020 election,” Leavitt said.
However, she added: “Voters have been certified for Joe Biden. He is the President of the United States. That’s why voters in this district this winter can’t afford to heat their homes, they literally have a choice between heating and eating. That’s why I run.”
When asked if she supported efforts to overturn the vote, Leavitt replied, “Do you want to talk about inflation? Do you want to talk about the border? Do you want to talk about crime?”
Leavitt, who was backed by Republican Gov. Chris Sununu, mentioned questions on whether or not the 2020 election was stolen do not curiosity voters within the district. During the talk, Leavitt dismissed criticism that she was a fringe candidate.
“My opponent retains labeling me an extremist. And frankly, I feel that is ridiculous,” she said. “It’s no exaggeration to place households first right here in New Hampshire’s First District.”
Pappas struck a different note.
“It is excessive to need to overthrow a democratic election on this nation,” mentioned the congressman.