Matt Mowers, East Brunswick native who worked for Gov. Chris Christie in Trenton and in New Hampshire, has lost his bid for the Republican nomination for Congress in New Hampshire’s 1st district, according to a call by The Cook Political Report House Race Editor David Wasserman.
The 31-year-old Mowers trails Karoline Leavitt, 25, a former assistant White House press secretary under President Donald Trump, by a 35%-25% margin in a field of ten candidates to take on two-term Democratic Rep. Christopher Pappas.
Gail Huff Brown, a former TV newscaster and the wife of former U.S. Senator Scott Brown, is in third place with 18%.
“I got into this race to give a voice to those Granite Staters who felt betrayed by the political class in Washington and to restore American strength and leadership around the world,” Mowers said in a concession statement. “Unfortunately, tonight’s results didn’t go our way, but I will never stop fighting for those middle-class families to ensure they are not forgotten.”
With 86% of the votes counted, Leavitt led Mowers by 5,508 votes.
Leavitt, ran to the right of Mowers in a primary where Trump did not take sides.
Mowers’ ties to Christie, who has become a prominent Trump critic within the Republican Party, had earned him some rebuke from his opponents, who say he isn’t conservative enough.
He worked on Christie’s 2009 and 2013 gubernatorial campaigns as well as in Christie’s first-term administration; shortly after Christie’s re-election victory, Mowers departed New Jersey to become executive director of the New Hampshire Republican Party – a job Christie helped line up — and lay the groundwork for Christie’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Following Christie’s disastrous presidential bid – he dropped out one day after finishing sixth in the New Hampshire primary with just 7% of the vote – Mower returned to New Jersey and took a job at a local public affairs firm, Mercury.
Mowers ran on Trump’s slate for alternate delegate to the Republican National Convention from the district that included an apartment he was subletting in Hoboken. He registered to vote in Hudson County and was able to cast a ballot for a second time in the GOP presidential primaries.
But his next stint as a New Jerseyan was short. He went to work for the Trump campaign – returned to voting from his parents home in Middlesex County — and then joined the Trump administration as the White House liaison to the U.S. Department of State before returning to New Hampshire to run for Congress in 2020.
He easily won the GOP primary but lost to Pappas by a 51-46% margin in the general election.
Christie played a prominent role in raising money for Mowers in 2020 and again this year.
Mowers also had the backing of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, former U.S. Secretary of State Richard Pompeo, and former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley. The McCarthy-aligned Congressional Leadership Fund had spent roughly $2 million to nominate Mowers, who was widely viewed as having a better shot against Pappas.
Leavitt had the endorsement of her former boss, House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, as well as Reps. Jim Jordan and Lauren Boebert.
This story was updated at 12:17 AM with comment from Mowers and at 1:43 AM on September 14 with additional election results.