GOP Gen-Z candidate wins New Hampshire primary: NPR

Karoline Leavitt takes part in a debate in Henniker, NH, days before the primary.

Mary Schwalm/AP


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Karoline Leavitt takes part in a debate in Henniker, NH, days before the primary.

Mary Schwalm/AP

Former Trump press secretary Karoline Leavitt has won the Republican primary in New Hampshire’s First Congressional District, according to a race call from The Associated Press.

Leavitt, 25, is only the second Gen Z to win a House primary and the first Republican. The 2022 midterm season is the first time senior Gen Zers are eligible to run for the United States House of Representatives, where 25 is the minimum age to sit.

Leavitt will now face incumbent Democrat Chris Pappas, 42, to represent the district — a coin flip seat Republicans hope to flip as part of their goal to win back a majority of House seats.

“They said I was too young, that we could never raise the funds to run, and that we could never beat a former Republican candidate,” Leavitt said in his victory speech Tuesday night.

“Over the past year, we’ve been overwhelmed but we haven’t been overwhelmed,” she exclaimed. “Certainly not!”

Leavitt beat former Trump State Department official Matt Mowers, 33, who ran for the seat in 2020 and lost to Pappas by five percentage points.

Mowers released a statement pledging to “never stop fighting” for middle-class families.

Although Mowers narrowly led in the polls against Leavitt ahead of the primary, the latest University of New Hampshire survey added uncertainty, finding nearly a quarter of respondents still undecided just two weeks out. elections.

Both candidates also ran with similar platforms, portraying themselves as staunch conservatives and political outsiders — while simultaneously promoting their working time in the Trump administration.

Where they differ is over the outcome of the 2020 election – Leavitt openly trumpeted the former president’s lie that he won, while Mowers did not directly respond to it.

Trump did not endorse a candidate in the primary race, but the game divided support among Republican leaders in Congress.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise, the two highest-ranking House Republicans, supported the mowers. While New York Rep. Elise Stefanik — third in the standings — backed Leavitt, who previously served as her spokeswoman in Congress.

Leavitt’s connection to Stefanik goes back in part to her historic congressional debut, when the New York congresswoman made history in 2014 as the youngest woman ever elected to the House when she took office.

“[Stefanik] was one of the few people, frankly, in Washington who believed in me to do this,” Leavitt told NPR in an interview earlier this summer.

“I know Elise received the same condemnation when she wanted to come forward, so she really believed in me and believed that I had what it took,” she added.

Throughout his campaign, Leavitt has presented his youth as an asset rather than a deterrent — arguing that younger voters need to hear more conservative voices — even though the majority of those voters lean toward Democratic candidates.

Matt Mowers speaks during the final primary debate before Tuesday’s race.

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Matt Mowers speaks during the final primary debate before Tuesday’s race.

Mary Schwalm/AP

“It’s a very one-sided culture that we live in,” Leavitt told NPR, “How do we break that mold? It’s by electing young people to positions that can resonate with those voters, have a platform at the national level, which can show them ideas, policies, values ​​that they do not hear elsewhere.”

But for Mowers, who is 33 and would easily be considered a younger member of Congress, in this race Leavitt is nearly a decade younger, putting generational differences in the political spotlight.

Leavitt’s victory comes less than a month after Democratic candidate Maxwell Frost made history as the first Gen Z to win a congressional primary.

Leavitt (left) and Stefanik (right) at the United States Capitol on May 14 after Republicans elected Stefanik as House leader.

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Leavitt (left) and Stefanik (right) at the United States Capitol on May 14 after Republicans elected Stefanik as House leader.

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