Outside Republican groups have reportedly canceled millions in TV ads supporting Don Bolduc’s campaign, leaving Sen. Maggie Hassan with an even bigger advertising advantage.
On Friday, tracking firm AdImpact Politics reported that the Senate Leadership Fund, a political action committee aligned with Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), had canceled more than $5 million in advertising reservations on Boston and Portland television stations that reach New Hampshire viewers.
The Senate Leadership Fund had booked the airtime earlier this month, just as the National Republican Senatorial Committee, an arm of the national Republican party, pulled out of the state.
The shift baffled some political observers in New Hampshire after a poll last week, commissioned by Bolduc’s campaign, showed a narrower gap between Hassan’s support and Bolduc’s.
“Seems odd given recent polling showing race within the margin,” tweeted longtime Republican leader Tom Rath.
Others wondered whether Bolduc’s campaign released the poll Friday knowing the Senate Majority Leadership Fund was pulling out.
The shift will mean Bolduc is relying more on grassroots fundraising, less-expensive online advertising and in-person events to meet voters.
Bolduc has scheduled several town hall-style events across the state this week and has been a frequent sight at non-political community events through the fall.
For her part, Hassan has an agenda packed with rallies for supporters and visits to small businesses and is set to campaign with Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) in southern New Hampshire in the coming days.
Primary is prologue?
Bolduc faced a fundraising disadvantage leading up to September’s Republican primary as well. But he was able to prevail in the primary despite having little formal campaign infrastructure and being outspent by opponents working with seasoned New Hampshire political operatives.
In the crowded Republican primaries for House and Senate races this year, Federal Election Commission records released last week show the candidates who spent the most weren’t victorious.
State Senate Majority Leader Chuck Morse raised $1.7 million for the campaign that saw him run a close second to Bolduc, who took in only about $800,000 through Sept. 30, according to FEC filings.
With five candidates seriously campaigning, Bolduc also had to capture a much narrower slice of votes than usual to prevail. Bolduc won with a little more than 37% of the primary vote, with a margin of just over 2,000 votes over Morse.
The filings aren’t a perfect picture of who spent the most, as the filing period ended a little more than two weeks after the Sept. 13 primary.
None of the candidates who won those primaries — not Bolduc, not Republican nominee Karoline Leavitt in the 1st Congressional District and not nominee Robert Burns in the Second Congressional District — were neither the most prolific fundraisers in the races nor the candidates who spent the most.
Leavitt was outraised and outspent by Matt Mowers and Gail Huff Brown in the 1st District primary. Huff Brown and Mowers both raised more than $1 million — Mowers raised almost $1.8 million — before they were knocked out of the race on Sept. 13. As of Sept. 30, Leavitt had taken in just shy of $1 million.
In the 2nd District, Burns trailed Keene Mayor George Hansel in fundraising, though his candidacy may have been buoyed by a September ad funded by Democratic groups, which suggested Burns was more conservative and Trump-like than Hansel.