Tuesday is the final day for primary contests before November. Here's what to watch
The 2022 primary season comes to a close Tuesday. While nominees in other states have hit the campaign trail gearing up for November, voters in Delaware, New Hampshire and Rhode Island will decide on their picks with fewer than two months to go until the general election.
Perhaps the most-watched state is New Hampshire, where the stakes are high in the five-way Republican Senate primary. The winner of that race will take on incumbent Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan in a race that's among a handful that could decide party control over the U.S. Senate.
New Hampshire Senate
Former President Donald Trump has, so far, stayed out of these races but has loomed large as candidates have fought to play up their fealty to him. The sprawling field includes Chuck Morse, who is the president of New Hampshire's state Senate, and Don Bolduc, a former Army general who has backed Trump's false claims about the 2020 election being stolen.
Bolduc has been dismissed as a "conspiracy theorist-type" by New Hampshire's Republican Gov. Chris Sununu, who is backing Morse. Morse also has the support of an outside group run by a former aide to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. It's spent $4 million to boost Morse and attack Bolduc, but Bolduc, who also ran for Senate in 2020, has campaigned doggedly, stoking conservative anger over COVID-19 lockdowns and promising to hold leaders in both parties accountable.
The field also includes Lincoln, N.H., businessman Vikram Mansharamani.
New Hampshire congressional primaries
New Hampshire's 1st Congressional District — which includes Manchester, the state's seacoast and vote-rich commuter towns along the Massachusetts border — is seen as a true swing district. There are five Republicans fighting to take on two-term incumbent Democrat Chris Pappas. Prime among them is Matt Mowers, a former Trump administration State Department staffer, who got his political start in New Jersey as an aide to then-Gov. Chris Christie.
Mowers was the GOP's 2020 nominee for the seat, losing to Pappas by 5 points. Mowers, 33, entered this race as the frontrunner and has been endorsed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, but Mowers' victory is far from assured. Karoline Leavitt — a 25-year-old former Trump administration assistant press secretary who has derided Mowers as the establishment's "handpicked puppet" — has gained ground in polling.
The race for New Hampshire's 2nd District, which runs along the border with Vermont and tilts more liberal, features Bob Burns, a serial candidate well-known in GOP activist circles. Burns bills himself as "pro-life, pro-Trump, America first." He faces George Hansel, the Republican mayor of the liberal city of Keene, N.H. Hansel supports some abortion rights and has the support of Gov. Sununu. Hansel has accused Burns of repeatedly lying about his record but has tacked right over the course of this race. The winner of that primary faces five-term incumbent Democrat Annie Kuster, a prolific fundraiser.
Rhode Island governor
Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee remains the favorite in a five-way Democratic primary, although two rivals — Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea and former CVS Health executive Helena Buonanno Foulkes — could pull off an upset.
In March 2021, McKee, then the lieutenant governor, moved up to governor when Gina Raimondo left office to become the U.S. commerce secretary. McKee touts his leadership in guiding Rhode Island through the pandemic since then.
Gorbea and Foulkes did not rush to criticize McKee's record. When they did, they targeted a potential soccer stadium in Pawtucket with $60 million in public investment and an ongoing FBI probe of an educational consulting contract awarded by McKee's administration. The winner of the Democratic primary will face Republican businesswoman Ashley Kalus, a Rhode Island newcomer. Republicans held the governor's office from 2003 until 2011, but have been locked out since then.
New Hampshire governor
Three-term incumbent Chris Sununu, the most successful Republican in the Granite State in a generation, is almost certain to win the primary for governor. He faces three challengers, all staunch conservatives who are taking particular aim at the Sununu's handling of COVID-19.
New Hampshire was less restrictive in terms of pandemic policies than any of its New England neighbors, but conservative activists were still galvanized by school closures, business closings and mask mandates.
If Sununu wins Tuesday, he'll face Democratic challenger Dr. Tom Sherman, who now serves in the state Senate.
Josh Rogers is the senior political editor and reporter for New Hampshire Public Radio. Ian Donnis is a political reporter for The Public's Radio in Rhode Island.
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