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GOP General with 18 pt. lead under $4M attack in NH – is McConnell behind it?

Brig. Gen. Donald C. Bolduc in a 2016 photo. (U.S. Special Operations Command Africa photo/Released)
September 01, 2022

Republican political action committee White Mountain PAC, headed by political operative Les Williamson who has repeatedly worked with Senator Mitch McConnell in the past, spent $4.1 million in advertising this week to undercut retired Army Brig. Gen. Don Buldoc — the leading Republican candidate by 18 points in New Hampshire’s 2022 Senate race. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is linked to the PAC and many suspect he is behind the effort.

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Politico reported Wednesday that Federal Election Commission filings on Tuesday show White Mountain PAC has spent $3.5 million on television ad-time in New Hampshire, while AdImpact says the PAC has spent $4.1 million. Two people with knowledge of the spending told Politico that the TV time will be used to promote Chuck Morse, who is trailing in the Republican senate primary by double digits to Buldoc.

According to Politico, Les Williamson currently serves as the White Mountain PAC’s treasurer. Williamson previously served as the finance director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), which is aligned with McConnell. Williamson also worked for another PAC connected to McConnell, according to The New Hampshire Union Leader.

Buldoc’s military career spans 36 years, including 10 tours of duty in Afghanistan. He also commanded Special Forces Africa and his decorations two awards for valor, five Bronze Star medals, and two Purple Hearts.

Buldoc leads Morse by an average of 18.5 points in Republican primary polling. A St. Anselm poll at the beginning of August placed Buldoc at a 16-point advantage with him picking up 32 percent of potential primary voters to Morse’s 16. A more recent University of New Hampshire had him leading morse by 21 points, with 43 points against Morse’s 22 points.

While Buldoc consistently leads Morse, the White Mountain PAC ads are apparently aimed at moving enough Republicans over to Morse. Across the RCP average, 11.5 percent of potential Republican voters support candidates other than Buldoc or Morse. Last month’s St. Anselm poll put the number of undecided Republican voters at 39 percent.

White Mountain’s ads for Morse will reportedly focus on his immigration policies like finishing the southern border wall. They will also emphasize his endorsements from the New Hampshire Union Leader and the National Rifle Association.

Buldoc campaign spokesperson James Thompson called the White Mountain PAC ad buy a “last ditch and losing effort by the establishment to prop up one of their own” before the Sept. 13 primary.

“This move is only going to backfire with grassroots voters who are drawn to General Bolduc precisely because he is an outsider offering a fresh perspective and running a quintessential New Hampshire campaign,” Thompson said. “If the Washington establishment had any juice left in the tank, Chuck Morse would be running away with the race.”

Buldoc had openly criticized President Joe Biden’s decision to delay President Donald Trump’s plans for withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan and called for Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley to resign last year after and said Milley’s handling of the withdrawal fell “somewhere between treason and dereliction of duty.”

Buldoc has also endorsed former President Donald Trump’s claims that the 2020 election was stolen for Biden. At a debate last month, Buldoc said, “I signed a letter with 120 other generals and admirals saying that Donald Trump won the election and, damn it, I stand by” it.

NRSC Chair Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) told Politico he believes “all of our candidates” can win in the general election against Democrat Sen. Maggie Hassan. Politico reported that some NRSC officials have expressed some behind-the-scenes concerns about Buldoc.