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GOP candidates for U.S. senate push back against Corey Lewandowski

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    Former Trump campaign chairman Corey Lewandowski waits to testify before House Judiciary Committee hearing on "Presidential Obstruction of Justice and Abuse of Power" on Capitol Hill in Washington on September 17, 2019. (Yuri Gripas/ABACAPRESS.COM/TNS) Yuri Gripas

For the Monitor 
Published: 9/23/2019 4:53:20 PM

Two of the Republican candidates who have announced they are running to challenge two-term Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in next year’s election are criticizing potential GOP candidate Corey Lewandowski for admitting on national TV that he has not always told the truth to the media.

They’re also frustrated with Lewandowski for the high fundraising bar he set for them to reach in order for him to stay out of the race.

“Corey jumping into the race himself after just having admitted to the country in front of the House Judiciary Committee that he’s not always honest doesn’t seem to me like the best path forward to defeating Jeanne Shaheen,” former state Rep. David Bates, the campaign manager for former state House Speaker Bill O’Brien said Monday.

Lewandowski, a longtime Windham resident who works as a consultant and lobbyist in the nation’s capital, dropped a political bomb this summer when he announced he was seriously considering a run for the GOP U.S. Senate nomination.

Lewandowski managed President Donald Trump’s first White House campaign from its start in 2015 through the 2016 primaries and remains a close outside adviser and loyalist to the president. And like his former boss, Lewandowski’s known for being polarizing and combative. He lived up to his reputation last Tuesday, stonewalling questions from the majority Democrats as the U.S. House Judiciary Committee held its first investigative hearing in the process of potentially impeaching Trump.

At one point during his testimony, Lewandowski said he had "no obligation" to tell the truth to the media while acknowledging that he had not told the truth when asked earlier this year during a media interview about his interactions with the president.

Asked during the viral moment if he was admitting to lying on national television, Lewandowski answered, “What I'm saying is, they have been inaccurate on many occasions and perhaps I was inaccurate that time.”

Retired Army Gen. Don Bolduc, the first Republican to jump into the race, was less than impressed.

“To be quite frank with you, there are some characteristics that come up with Mr. Lewandowski and that’s not a surprise to anybody,” Bolduc said. 

“I have promised not to be in the business of personal attacks and so I won’t do that but others will,” he added. “We have to change the dynamic in Congress from one of DC-based power politics, business-as-usual, establishment, centric, to a change of communities first, people first, and New Hampshire first.”

Lewandowski told the Monitor that Bolduc “has no reason to question my integrity.”

Lewandowski has said for over a month he would wait to decide on a Senate bid until he saw the third-quarter fundraising figures from the candidates that have already launched campaigns. Those figures are due to the Federal Election Commission in just eight days.

On Friday, Lewandowski appeared to up the ante, telling WMUR that unless Bolduc and former state House of Representatives Speaker Bill O’Brien raised at least $2 million in the July-September third quarter of fundraising, he didn’t feel they would be viewed as credible candidates.

Lewandowski, who’s touted his “fundraising prowess” thanks to his close ties to Trump, told the Monitor on Monday that “defeating any incumbent senator takes resources. Without money, the campaign can’t be successful. Let’s see how much money the announced candidates have at the end of this fundraising quarter to determine if they can be competitive. The numbers won’t lie.”

Bolduc said Lewandowski’s fundraising line in the sand is unrealistic.”

“It’s not about money. Money cannot be the decisive point in an election and the race should be decided by the people of New Hampshire,” Bolduc said. “This is a big deal. We have to change the dynamic from power politics to politics of integrity. That’s what this should be about and think that’s going to resonate really well with the voters in New Hampshire.”

Bates also pushed back against the $2 million threshold laid down by Lewandowski. He suggested that “if Corey is genuinely only concerned with seeing Jeanne Shaheen replaced, he should get behind of the currently declared candidates and use his contacts and fundraising ability to help one of them get elected.”

“But throwing out an unrealistically high fundraising objective that he knows no candidate is going to achieve doesn’t help anyone,” Bates highlighted.

Bryant ‘Corky’ Messner, a retired Army Ranger and self-made millionaire attorney, announced his candidacy for the GOP nomination earlier this month.

Messner, who spotlighted his background as “a blue-collar kid from Appalachia” who earned an appointment to West Point and later graduated law school, told the Monitor in response to Lewandowski that “this campaign is going to take a lot of grit and raising the resources necessary to win. I’m prepared to do it.”

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