Former state Sen. Chuck Morse made it official Saturday, throwing his support behind former President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Durham.
“As I’ve campaigned for governor, I tell people it’s not an accident that New Hampshire ranks among the best states to live in and that our economy is the envy of New England and the country. And it’s not luck either,” Morse told the crowd of some 4,000 people at UNH’s Whittemore Center. “It’s because we elect conservatives who get results. That is what I did as state Senate president, and it’s what Donald Trump did as president.”
“Next year, we need to elect a conservative who gets results. That is why I’m endorsing Donald Trump to be our next president. And I invite everyone to join me in working over the next 37 days to ensure Donald Trump wins our New Hampshire primary.”
After his speech, Morse told NHJournal he was “proud to give President Trump my endorsement. Gas prices were lower, and the economy was stronger when he was president.”
Asked about criticism from some New Hampshire Republicans that Morse was a Jeb Bush supporter in 2016 and appears to be abandoning his “mainstream GOP” politics, Morse said nobody should be surprised by his endorsement.
“I’ve been with Trump since the general election in 2016, and unlike Kelly Ayotte, I’ve made it clear I want to unite the Republican Party, and I think that’s important,” Morse told NHJournal.
Ayotte, the former U.S. senator who is also seeking the GOP nomination for New Hampshire governor, has a storied history with the former president. During his 2016 campaign, she publicly withdrew her support from Trump after reports of his alleged mistreatment of women. When Ayotte went on to lose her bid for reelection to the Senate that November, many Granite State politicos believed it was due to her abandonment of Trump.
As a candidate for governor, Ayotte has repeatedly said she will support the GOP nominee, including Trump. And her campaign rejected the claim that Ayotte wasn’t willing to unite the party.
“Kelly Ayotte is uniting Granite Staters like no other gubernatorial candidate in state history, and that’s why she continues to dominate the field with the grassroots, in the polls, and in fundraising,” campaign spokesman John Corbett told NHJournal.
Morse said he aligned with Trump “on most issues,” but he said the one issue he wanted Trump to emphasize more was “talking about both the northern and southern border. We’re hearing that all over the state — the northern and southern borders have got to be under control.”
Based on what GOP primary voters are telling him, Morse added, predictions of a Trump loss or “Nikki Haley landslide” are greatly exaggerated. “We’re hearing ‘Trump’ on the campaign trail even more than the polls show,” Morse said.
Morse made his endorsement during the Trump rally pre-show, and he wasn’t the only Granite Stater to take the stage to endorse the former president. New Hampshire Federation of Republican Women President Elizabeth Girard also endorsed Trump, breaking from the tradition of primary-election neutrality by the NHFRW leadership. Girard is running for Republican National Committeewoman, which will be chosen when the New Hampshire State GOP Committee convenes in January,
Both Morse and Girard got shoutouts from Trump once he took the stage. When Trump mentioned “former state Sen. president and candidate for governor Chuck Morse,” he threw in, “about time you got rid of that governor of yours.”
Gov. Chris Sununu endorsed Trump’s former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley last week.
“The vast majority of New Hampshire Republicans voting in our state primary are Trump supporters,” said former GOP state party chair Steve Stepanek, who is now a Trump senior advisor in the Granite State. “Republicans who have primaries are smart to endorse the President and to do it sooner rather than later.”