Former Executive Councilor and state Sen. Russell Prescott, best known in NHGOP circles for defeating Maggie Hassan in two state Senate races, formally announced Thursday he is entering the race for Congress in New Hampshire’s First District.

“Our state’s leadership in Congress has forgotten the independent ‘Live Free or Die’ values we pride ourselves on in New Hampshire,” Prescott, 62, said in a statement. “We need a fresh voice who has the business and elected experience to change the status quo. I look forward to continuing to travel the district in the coming months and pledge to work hard to earn the Republican nomination in the coming year. United, we can defeat Chris Pappas and bring real change to Washington.”

Prescott struggled in the NH-01 GOP primary last year, finishing in fourth place with 10 percent of the vote. But his campaign says he is off to a good start for 2024, “already surpassing six figures in fundraising commitments, with over $100,000 already pledged from over 80 individual donors across the state,” according to a campaign statement.

Prescott owns R.E. Prescott Pump Company in Exeter and is a professional engineer. He holds several patents for products that remove arsenic and radon from water. As a result, he was able to largely self-fund his 2022 campaign.

Newcomer Karoline Leavitt won the primary and went on to lose to two-term incumbent Rep. Chris Pappas in the general election. Pappas is widely expected to be the Democratic nominee again next year.

Michael Biundo and Derek Dufresne with Ascent Strategic will run Prescott’s campaign.

“Russell Prescott is precisely the type of individual we need representing New Hampshire in Congress,” Biundo said.” He has the public and private sector experience to hit the ground running on day one and the record to go toe-to-toe with Chris Pappas. He’s honest and forthright and has proven that he has the independent backbone to stand up for what he believes in. I admire that.”

Many Granite State Republicans tell NHJournal on background they admire Prescott, but few are prepared to back him or believe he is a strong candidate for Congress in the Trump era.

“Russell’s a great guy, but this isn’t 1994 — or even 2010,” one NHGOP insider said. “The party has moved on, and nobody believes Russell Prescott is going to ‘own the libs.’”

New Hampshire Democratic Party chairman Ray Buckley, on the other hand, is trying to portray Prescott as an “extreme MAGA” Republican who “celebrated the overturning of Roe v. Wade [and] has a decades-long record as an anti-choice legislator,” the Union Leader reports.

He and his wife, Susan, have been married for 41 years and have five grown children and seven grandchildren.