Mowers, Messner and Negron win top GOP races to take on N.H. Congressional Democrat incumbents 

  • Matt Mowers speaks before a campaign rally for President Donald Trump at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Londonderry, N.H. Mowers is a Republican candidate in the 1st Congressional District in New Hampshire's Sept. 8, primary election. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • ">

    Bryant "Corky" Messner (Courtesy photograph)

  • Candidate Steve Negron the Republican nominee for New Hampshire's 2nd Congressional District pauses while speaking at the NHGOP Rally For The Midterms event in Bedford, N.H. Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/ Cheryl Senter) Cheryl Senter

  • Sen. Jeanne Shaheen AP

  • FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2018, file photo, Democrat Chris Pappas celebrates winning New Hampshire's 1st Congressional District race in Manchester, N.H. Pappas is the incumbent Democrat candidate in New Hampshire's Sept. 8, 2020 primary election. (AP Photo/ Cheryl Senter, File) Cheryl Senter

  • Rep. Ann Kuster talks to members of the media following a campaign stop with Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia in Concord on Friday, Aug. 12, 2016. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz

For the Monitor
Published: 9/8/2020 10:39:01 PM

Republican Bryant “Corky” Messner will challenge Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in November’s general election for U.S. Senate.

Messner was the projected winner of the Republican primary for U.S. Senate at 11:11 p.m., just over three hours after the polls closed in the Granite State.

In the two Republican primaries for U.S. Representative, Matt Mowers won in the 1st Congressional District to take on incumbent Chris Pappas in the November general election, while Steve Negron appeared poised to challenge incumbent Annie Kuster in the 2nd District.

In the Senate primary, Messner, a political novice who lives in Wolfeboro, defeated another first-time candidate, retired Army Brig. Gen. Don Bolduc of Stratham.

“I’m not celebrating anything. I’m going to work, because we have a big, big mission ahead of us and we have seven weeks to do it,” Messner told supporters on Tuesday night.

Messner’s victory was aided in part by an endorsement earlier this summer from President Trump, which carries a lot of weight in GOP primaries. Messner – a successful attorney and self-made millionaire – also sank millions of his own money into his campaign, allowing his to greatly outspend Bolduc to run ads.

Messner will be considered the underdog against Shaheen, but he warned that “they better not underestimate me. Because we are coming for Jeanne Shaheen.”

Messner was raised in a working class family in Altoona, Pennsylvania. After graduating from West Point in 1979, Messner was deployed in Germany during the Cold War. Following his military service, he attended law school at the University of Denver and went on to found a law firm in Colorado that grew to more than 200 employees.

After calling Colorado home for years, Messner in 2018 became a resident of Wolfeboro – where he’s owned a home for a dozen years.

Shaheen – a former three-term governor who’s running for a third six-year term representing New Hampshire in the U.S. Senate – overwhelmingly crushed longshot Democratic primary rivals Paul Krautmann and Tom Alciere in her party’s contest.

Taking to Twitter after her expected primary victory, Shaheen wrote that “I am honored to be your Democratic Nominee for the U.S. Senate! Thank you so much for your support, and I will continue working hard for every Granite Stater to make a difference for New Hampshire. On to November!”

First District race

Thanks in part to the backing of the president and a strong fundraising advantage over the rest of the field, Mowers easily captured the GOP nomination in the state’s 1st Congressional District, which stretches from greater Manchester east to the Seacoast and north to the Lakes Region and the White Mountains.

“I want to thank a good friend of all of ours, the President of the United States for his early support in this campaign,” Mowers told supporters in his primary victory speech.

Mowers crushed his main rival in the five-candidate field – former New Hampshire GOP vice chair and former Dover city councilor Matt Mayberry. He’s now considered the underdog in his bid to try and unseat Democratic incumbent Rep. Chris Pappas.

Mowers quickly took aim at his Democratic rival and charged that Pappas “went down to Washington D.C. and saddled up with Nancy Pelosi.”

“Pappas has already broken his word. We don’t need to give him two more years just so we can get two more years of buyer’s remorse,” Mowers added. He vowed that if elected, he would “fight for small businesses, they are the backbone of the Granite State, and they will have a champion in me down in Washington D.C.”

Mowers has worked for years as a political operative since his days as a student at Rutgers University in New Jersey, where he helped a number of Republican campaigns. He later served as an aide to GOP Gov. Chris Christie and again as a political operative on Christie’s 2013 gubernatorial reelection.

Mowers then headed to New Hampshire to serve as executive director of the state GOP during the 2014 election cycle. His next job in politics kept him in the Granite State, as state director of Christie’s 2016 campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. Soon after Christie dropped out of the White House race, Mowers came on board Donald Trump’s presidential campaign as a national field director who focused on the battlegrounds of New Hampshire, Maine and Michigan.

Trump’s 2016 victory opened the door for Mowers to serve at the State Department in the Trump administration. Last year, he returned to New Hampshire, moving to Bedford. In January, he announced his own candidacy for Congress.

During a Republican primary that turned acrimonious this summer, Mayberry repeatedly accused Mowers of being a carpetbagger.

Pappas – who was born and still lives in Manchester – seemed to indirectly jab at Mowers in his primary victory address on Tuesday night. Pappas – a former state representative and executive councilor – noted that he’s running for re-election to a second two-year term “because during these uncertain times there’s so much work to do to confront this crisis and move our state forward. And it’s going to take someone who knows New Hampshire to get the job done.”

“I am grounded in the people and places of this state,” he added.

Pappas said one of his goals in Washington was to act in a bipartisan fashion.

“As your congressman, I partnered with my Republican colleagues on 16 of the 34 bills I authored in my first term, because it’s always best to build consensus when you’re legislating. I have co-sponsored another 69 bills written by my Republican colleagues, six of which have already been signed into law by the president.”

Second District Race

U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster easily won Tuesday’s Democratic primary in the state’s 2nd Congressional District and congratulated Negron as her probable opponent in the general election.

“I look forward to a civil debate focused on the issues over the coming weeks,” Kuster said. “I’m proud of my record of delivering real results for the people of New Hampshire’s Second Congressional District. My work in Congress is guided by the conversations I have with Granite Staters every day and I look forward to discussing their priorities on the campaign trail.”

Kuster – who’s running for a fifth straight 2-year term in Congress – crushed longshot primary challenger Joseph Mirzoeff.

The Democrat from Hopkinton touted her bipartisan efforts in a statement and emphasized that “I’m running for re-election because as we face the COVID-19 pandemic it is more important than ever that we focus on our shared goals and work together to lift all Granite State families.”

“I am committed to my work of ensuring every Granite Stater has access to affordable, quality health care, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, supporting our veterans and their families, protecting our environment, and making sure that no individual or small business is left behind as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Kuster stressed.

Negron, a retired Air Force officer and businessman from Nashua who won the 2018 GOP nomination in the 2nd CD, remained in a tight race for much of the night with his main rival in the 4-candidate field, Lynne Blankenbeker, a former state representative from Concord who served for decades as a combat nurse in the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy.

The showdown between the Negron and Blankenbeker, a captain in the Navy Reserve, was a rematch from two years ago, when Negron won the GOP nomination before losing to Kuster by double digits in the general election.

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