DERRY, N.H. – As she runs for re-election this year in the crucial general election battleground state of New Hampshire, former governor and first-term Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan has made a point to highlight her policy differences with President Biden.
And with just two weeks to go until the midterm elections, Hassan says she thinks the Biden administration can do more to lower energy costs amid the highest inflation in four decades.
With the latest public opinion polls indicating Hassan holding onto a fragile mid-single digit advantage over former Army Gen. Don Bolduc, the Republican Senate nominee, Hassan is touting “the work we’re doing to lower costs, particularly energy costs, prescription drug costs.”
Hassan told Fox News Digital after a campaign stop in Derry, New Hampshire, on Monday that “I’m going to continue to push to suspend the gas tax, continue to push the administration to do more to lower the cost of home heating fuel this winter.”
And with the temperatures dropping and winter closing in on New Hampshire, the high costs of home heat oil and other energy sources are a top concern for Granite State voters casting ballots on Nov. 8.
During a brief question and answer session with reporters, Hassan pointed to the home heating fuel reserve and noted that “just as they [the administration] are able to release more petroleum from the strategic petroleum reserve, they have the option of releasing more home heating fuel from that reserve, increasing the supply, help to lower prices.”
And she said she’s “led a bipartisan effort to do that along with a bipartisan effort that just got another billion dollars in home heating assistance in the latest appropriations bill because we know it’s tough winter and we’ve got to help people.”
While Hassan has dramatically out raised and outspent Bolduc, who’s struggled with fundraising, Bolduc enjoyed millions in spending by the Senate Leadership Fund, the top super PAC supporting Republican Senate incumbents and candidates. But on Friday the group, which is aligned with longtime Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, announced it was canceling the remaining $5.6 million it had reserved to spend on ads on behalf of Bolduc in the final two weeks leading up to Election Day.
But another outside group backed by GOP mega-donor Republican Richard Uihlein on Monday placed a six-figure buy in New Hampshire to support Bolduc.
Hassan said regardless of the moves, “this has always been a close race. It’s going to be a close race. We are New Hampshire. We are a very purple state.”
Bolduc and Republicans have repeatedly linked Hassan to Biden, whose poll numbers – while rising – remain in negative territory. And they blame the administration and Hassan for the record inflation, which is the top issue for voters in the midterms. Bolduc constantly points out that Hassan has voted with Biden nearly 100% of the time.
But Hassan has regularly highlighted her bipartisan chops, and on Monday she received an assist from fellow Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, who joined her on the campaign trail in New Hampshire.
“If there’s one senator in all of America who’s proven that she can bring both sides together to get things done, objectively, measurably, the most uniting force in the United States Senate is Maggie Hassan,” Booker told reporters. “I’m not just here because I’m a Democrat. I’m here really because I think our county needs healing and she’s proven she’s the best person to do that.”
Booker ran unsuccessfully for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, and his return to the state that for a century’s held the first primary in the presidential nominating calendar sparked some speculation that the senator may still harbor national ambitions.
But Booker, who also returned to New Hampshire last December to headline a major state Democratic Party fundraising gala, spotlighted his support for Biden to run for re-election in 2024. He praised Biden as “a president who’s passed the most bipartisan bills in [an] era of great partisanship,” and emphasized that “I’m just one of those people who believe that President Biden should run for re-election on that record.”
Asked about another White House run of his own some day, Booker, 53, told Fox News Digital “I’m fortunate. I’m young. There’s a lot of runway ahead of me.”
And amid serious efforts this year by the Democratic National Committee to drop the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary from their lead-off positions at the top of the party’s nominating calendar and replace them with more urban and diverse states, Booker defended the Granite State’s cherished primary position.
“As a guy who has a lot of love for the Granite State, who came up here and just see how special this tradition is. I get it now after coming here. It is a small state where people really get involved and really get to know their candidates. I want this state to remain at the top of our primary list. I think that its history and its legacy have earned to be at the top group at the top order,” Booker emphasized.
Bolduc’s campaign criticized both Booker and Hassan for voting in favor of a Democratic bill that would give the federal government more say over state elections, which Republicans and New Hampshire election officials say could potentially threaten the state’s presidential primary status.