Will 'Gen Z' Trumpster Capture NH-1 In Fall? New Hampshire Republican 1st Congressional District candidate Karoline Leavitt smiles as she speaks during a debate last week in Henniker, New Hampshire. (/Mary Schwalm/AP)
By John Gizzi Wednesday, 14 September 2022 10:38 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive
The national media reported the Republican primary results from New Hampshire's 1st District (Manchester) emphasizing the historic nature of triumphant contender Karoline Leavitt.
At 25, the St. Anselm College graduate and onetime Assistant Press Secretary in the Trump White House would be, if elected, one of the first two "Generation Z" (turning 25 this year) U.S. Representatives. The other is Democrat Maxwell Frost, a community organizer and self-styled fighter against "our racist system of criminal justice," who won the primary in Florida's 10th District and is assured of election this fall.
Leavitt, who would be the youngest female member of Congress, rolled up a win of 34% to 25% over 2020 nominee Matt Mowers in an eight-candidate race. Her victory is particularly impressive in that Mowers, a former executive director of the Granite State GOP and State Department official under Trump, lost a tight (52% to 48%) contest to Democrat Rep. Chris Pappas.
This year, Mowers, 33, had the support of House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy and his Congressional Leadership Political Action Committee. Also weighing in for Mowers was the Defending Main Street PAC, which is run by centrist Republicans in the House. In touting Mowers, both PACs ran independent TV salvos that also slammed Leavitt as "immature" and "irresponsible."
But Leavitt overcame all this by, in-effect, "out-Trumping" Mowers. While both candidates were alumni of the Trump Administration and voiced their support for the 45th president, Mowers, when asked about his confidence in elections, said "I have confidence in New Hampshire elections" but agreed there was room for improvement.
Clearly sensing an opening, Leavitt said without hesitation that "the 2020 election was stolen from President Trump" and charged that Mowers was in league with President Biden for believing he "legitimately won more votes than Donald Trump."
"Hard work," former State Attorney General Tom Rath told Newsmax, was key to Leavitt's upset victory.
Rath added that "… enthusiasm and enthusiasm were key to her win, and an unapologetic total embrace of Trump. Mowers failed to create a viable alternative. She also had plenty of money, which was a surprise to a lot of folks."
While McCarthy and House GOP Whip Steve Scalise had strongly endorsed Mowers, the third-ranked official in the House Republican hierarchy, Conference Chairman Elise Stefanik, weighed in strongly for Leavitt (who worked for the New York congresswoman after leaving the Trump White House). Texas Sen. Ted Cruz also jetted to New Hampshire to campaign for Leavitt.
The major question is whether Pappas, widely considered one of the most vulnerable Democrats facing voters this fall, can be defeated by someone so identified with Trump in a district Biden carried over Trump 56% to 44% two years ago.
"She will be a big underdog in the general," conceded Rath, but quickly added: "Democrats better take her seriously."
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.