In an op-ed for New Hampshire Journal, state Sen. Regina Birdsell endorsed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the First in the Nation GOP primary. She’s the first Republican in the state senate to endorse in the upcoming presidential primary.
“As the First in the Nation Primary, Granite Staters set the course of history. It is crucial we rally behind a candidate who not only can defeat Joe Biden–but who can elect Republicans up and down the ballot to deliver our shared values for the American people,” Birdsell wrote.
“Gov. Ron DeSantis is that bold candidate we need, which is why I enthusiastically endorse his candidacy for president.”
Birdsell has served in the state Senate since 2014 and is one of the body’s more conservative members.
“Senator Birdsell is a great get for Team DeSantis,” said veteran GOP strategist Jim Merrill. “She is a widely respected conservative, she’s grassroots focused and she has a strong base in Rockingham County, which is ground zero for the GOP primary.”
Merrill worked for the Marco Rubio campaign in 2016, and Birdsell was one of the Florida senator’s state co-chairs.
Also backing DeSantis is House Majority Leader Jason Osborne (R-Auburn). Neither Speaker of the House Sherm Packard (R-Londonderry) nor Senate President Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro) have endorsed in the FITN race.
Legislative endorsements have been a flashpoint in the First in the Nation primary. Soon after former President Donald Trump released a list of around 50 state reps who’d endorsed his campaign, DeSantis released a list of 50 state rep endorsements of his own, including four who had previously backed Trump. In the ensuing back-and-forth between the campaigns, state Rep. Juliet Harvey-Bolia (R-Tilton) claimed she was endorsing both candidates, before flipping a third time and backing Trump.
The Trump campaign also raised eyebrows when they released their list of city and town captains that included controversial conspiracy-theory promoter Terese Grinnell Bastarache. A day before the list was released, the state dropped charges against her for disrupting an Executive Council meeting while protesting against funding for the COVID-19 vaccine.