Potential Lewandowski senate run in NH could be ‘HUGE’ for GOP, and local Dems aren’t happy about it

(Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski has confirmed to multiple outlets that he’s considering challenging incumbent New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, in the upcoming 2020 general election.

Word of a potential run first broke early Thursday morning, when Manchester, New Hampshire station WMUR received confirmation from sources within the GOP that the prospect of Lewandowski running for office had been broached during discussions at this week’s Republican National Committee annual three-day summer meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Later that morning on Fox News, the former Trump campaign manager provided his own confirmation, telling the outlet that he’s “looking at” running against Shaheen “very hard.”

“The president needs a strong supporter of his on the ticket in New Hampshire,” he reportedly said. “New Hampshire is a state he lost by 2,700 votes, but having a strong, unified ticket in the state will help him be successful in 2020.”

A couple hours later, he began offering the same confirmation to other outlets.

“I’m seriously considering it,” he texted Politico’s reporters.

According to sources who spoke with The Daily Beast, he’s slated to meet with the president some time in the coming days to talk about a potential Senate bid.

Meanwhile, WMUR has predicted that were Lewandowski to throw his hat into the ring, he’d immediately become a front-runner.

“If Lewandowski actually does decide to run, with his close ties to Trump, he would emerge as the frontrunner in a Republican Senate primary currently shaping up among former New Hampshire House Speaker Bill O’Brien and retired Brig. Gen. Donald Bolduc, both of whom have announced candidacies, and attorney Bryant Messner, who is exploring a run and is expected to become a candidate in the coming weeks,” the outlet notes.

Why? Because he’d “have at his disposal virtually unlimited funds, given his national profile and Trump-related associations,” not to mention the backing of the president.

“Brien and Bolduc currently have Trump loyalists on their teams and as supporters, so the effects of a Lewandowski candidacy, or even his serious consideration of a candidacy, would potentially be — well — HUGE.”

True, but does the Republican Party of New Hampshire even want him there? The Daily Beast’s sources within the party claim that no, they prefer he abstain from joining the race. As for a reason why, they claim he’d hurt their chances of reacquiring Shaheen’s seat.

“Granite State GOPers were quick to offer words of caution to Lewandowski: if you run, you’re directly contributing to Shaheen’s re-election effort,” The Daily Beast reported.

“It makes me extremely nervous,” one senior GOP adviser reportedly said. “He is as much of a shadow of the president as you can find. That will hurt us down ballot.”

“It would certainly give more ammunition to Jeanne Shaheen,” another added.

It’s an odd argument given that Shaheen has held her seat for a full decade, meaning that the Republican Party of New Hampshire’s efforts clearly haven’t been working.

“Multiple Republicans said that two-term Democratic senator is in a strong position heading into re-election for a third six-year Senate term. The race is an uphill battle, they said, with several candidates having already announced their bids to take on the popular incumbent,” the left-wing outlet’s report continued.

“Add Lewandowski, a divisive figure straight from Trump-world, into the mix and it would upend the nature of the race, shifting the national spotlight and coffers to Shaheen, Republicans warned.”

That makes no sense. If it’s an “uphill” battle already, how would Lewandowski “upend” anything? And what exactly would he upend — the state party’s legacy of endless defeat?

But at least their kept their criticisms polite. The same cannot be said of former Sen. Judd Gregg, who served in office from 1993 to 2011 before dropping out and, eventually, supporting John Kasich in the 2016 presidential election …

“He’s a thug,” Gregg told NH Journal. “He’s part of Trump’s cadre of thugs. If he were to run and become the nominee, it would be an outrage.”

When pressed about the former senator’s criticism, Lewandowski reportedly said, “This only helps me remind the people of New Hampshire that career politicians have destroyed our country and significant change is needed in Washington.”

Not every state legislator agrees with Gregg.

“The swing voters who hate Trump don’t care who the Senate nominee is, they’re going to punish Republicans anyway,” one said. “So if you’re going to take a beating with suburban women, you might as well maximize your vote with rural men. Lewandowski might be the only candidate close enough to Trump to help turn out those voters.”

Good point.

**Update: The New Hampshire Democratic Party has issued a statement to BizPac Review regarding Lewandowski’s potential entrance into the race.

“Corey Lewandowski is a craven lobbyist who has been credibly accused of assault many times and is chomping at the bit to strip away Granite Staters’ health care,” spokesperson Josh Marcus-Blank said in an emailed statement.

“Meanwhile, Senator Shaheen is making a difference for New Hampshire families, leading efforts in the Senate to expand access to health care and taking on the big drug companies to lower the costs of prescription drugs. The contrast couldn’t be more clear.”

Vivek Saxena

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