(Headline USA) Matt Mowers, a leading Republican primary candidate looking to unseat Rep. Chris Pappas, D-NH, previously served as the director of former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s presidential campaign in the pivotal early voting state.
He also was a senior adviser in Donald Trump’s administration and later held a State Department post.
“Matt was proud to work for President Trump as the GOP establishment was working to undermine his nomination,” campaign spokesman John Corbett said. “Matt moved for work and was able to participate in the primary in support of President Trump and serve as a delegate at a critical time for the Republican Party and country.”
With leftists terrified that the longtime swing state might pivot back to red, propagandist media outlets including the Associated Press have fixated on a minor voting oversight to suggest that Mowers attempted to cheat in the 2020 election—despite it having been, according to the Left’s account, the safest most securest election in history.
During the election, he voted in the New Hampshire primary but later cast his general election ballot in New Jersey, where his parents reside.
“What he has done is cast a vote in two different states for the election of a president, which on the face of it looks like he’s violated federal law,” said David Schultz, a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School. ”You get one bite at the voting apple.
There is little chance Mowers could face prosecution. The statute of limitations has lapsed, and there is no record of anyone being prosecuted under this specific section of federal election law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks the issue.
A separate New Hampshire law prohibits double-voting in two different states, but makes an exception if someone “legitimately moved his or her domicile.”
Moreover, not everyone agrees Mowers’ double-voting is a clear-cut case of voter fraud.
For starters, it’s an undeveloped area of law. Any court would have to contend with complicated issues such as whether a primary could be viewed as a public election or as an event held by a private organization that is administered with government help.
“With the right set of facts, it could be construed as a violation, but it’s just not at all obvious to me that it is,” said Steven Huefner, an Ohio State University law school professor who specializes in election law. “It is a pretty murky question.”
Charlie Spies, a longtime Republican election lawyer who contacted the AP at the request of Mowers’ campaign, called the matter “silly.”
He said the double-voting was “at worst a gray area” of the law and “not the sort of issue anybody would spend time on.”
That may not matter in a congressional primary race that has drawn a half-dozen Republican candidates.
Among them is former Trump White House assistant press secretary Karoline Leavitt, who has already attacked Mowers for being soft on the issue of election integrity.
In September, after Mowers said President Joe Biden rightfully won the 2020 election, Leavitt said Mowers “rolled over and sided with Joe Biden and the Democrats by refusing to stand for election integrity.”
Mowers’ campaign called her criticism “fake news” at the time.
His own campaign website has leaned in on the issue, featuring a section dedicated to “election integrity.” It states that new rules are needed to “provide every American citizen with the certainty that their vote counts.”
He also echoes the long-standing Republican criticism about out-of-state voters, endorsing an effort by the state’s legislature to make sure “only legal residents of New Hampshire are entitled to vote.”
This isn’t the first run Mowers, who is in his early 30s, has made for the seat, which is a top Republican target in the 2022 midterm elections. In 2020, he earned Trump’s endorsement and won the Republican nomination before losing to Pappas by 5 percentage points.
This time could be different, though. Biden’s flagging approval rating has made Republicans bullish on their prospects. And Republicans who now control the state legislature and governor’s office, are poised to approve more advantageous legislative maps.
Mowers promotes his time living in New Hampshire with his wife and young child. But he is not a native to the state, spending much of his life in New Jersey.
A graduate of Rutgers, he came up through New Jersey politics, working for Christie’s gubernatorial administration, as well as Christie’s reelection campaign.
That led to an appearance in the 2016 “Bridgegate” trial, where Mowers testified about his unsuccessful attempts to prod a Democratic mayor to endorse Christie, which resulted in acts of retribution and ultimately two convictions of close Christie allies. Mowers was not accused of wrongdoing in the case.
He moved to New Hampshire in 2013 to take on a role as the executive director of the state Republican Party. He resumed working for Christie in 2015 to lay the groundwork for a presidential campaign.
After Christie’s White House run, Mowers moved back to New Jersey, taking a job with the lobbying firm Mercury. He joined the Trump campaign in July 2016, and ultimately relocated to Washington after landing a spot in the administration.
He launched his first bid for Congress after leaving the White House.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press