For weeks now, New Hampshire Republicans have been expecting former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski to jump in the U.S. Senate primary and transform the race. Even Lewandowski’s most ardent critics concede he would be the likely nominee of the NHGOP.
Instead, after weeks of talking up his candidacy, the Windham, N.H. resident has yet to make an announcement and is instead hinting that the timing may be off. Now some GOP insiders are wondering if he intends to run at all.
“He’s never been serious about this race,” one longtime NHGOP insider told NHJournal, saying that Lewandowski’s unwilling to make the public disclosures about his personal finances such a race would require. “He’s made a lot of money since Donald Trump went to the White House, and he’s not interested in talking about how.”
Not so, says Lewandowski.
“Anyone saying I’m not running for the Senate is spreading ‘fake news,’ he told NHJournal. “I haven’t decided yet.”
On the Jack Heath radio show Tuesday morning, Lewandowski conceded he is re-thinking entering the Senate race and in order to join the effort to defend Trump in the upcoming impeachment fight. “While I think that, if I run, I will win, I have always said that making sure this president is re-elected is my first priority,” Lewandowski said.
Lewandowski reiterated that message in an interview with Politico’s Trent Spiner: “I’m not going into the White House…I have no desire to go and become a government employee. But if this fake witch hunt gears up to try to impeach the president and there is value for me to continue to be a high-profile surrogate for the president over the next many months, I will do that.”
If Lewandowski does decide to stay out of the race, he’ll be disappointing some pro-Trump Republicans like state Rep. Fred Doucette and Windham Selectman Bruce Breton who are pumped up over his candidacy.
“There’s a bunch of us who are ready to work for Corey because we really believe he can beat [Sen. Jeanne] Shaheen and win this seat,” Breton told NHJournal.
If Lewandowski lays out, he’ll also disappoint Democratic Party fundraisers who’ve already been using the mere possibility of a Corey candidacy to raise money for the 2020 race.
The three Republicans already in the primary, however — Ret. Army Gen. Don Bolduc, attorney Corky Messner and former New Hampshire House Speaker Bill O’Brien — would likely breathe a sigh of relief. Polls have consistently shown that Lewandowski would be the prohibitive favorite in the GOP primary, though not in the general election.
Lewandowski believes that, not only can he beat Shaheen, he still has plenty of time to decide whether or not to run. In his Politico interview, he pointed out that the GOP primary is still 11 months away and the filing window doesn’t even open until next June. This could give him time to help fight the impeachment battle and still enter the race as a front-runner, especially with Trump’s support.
“I think if I were to get in the race, I have the president’s endorsement. If I get in this race, I’m going to win the Republican nomination.”
“I’ve always said I want to see how much money the other Republicans in this race have raised. And as much as I think I would be a great fighter for the people of New Hampshire, it’s my priority to make sure the President of the United State is re-elected,” he told Jack Heath.
“That’s my top priority.”