- Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski will not run for Senate in New Hampshire.
- Lewandoski declined to challenge Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in the battleground state.
- President Donald Trump had backed Lewandowski as rumors swirled about him considering a Senate bid.
Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said Tuesday that he will not run for Senate in New Hampshire in 2020, despite being encouraged by President Donald Trump to make that bid — and despite claiming that had he run "I would have won."
Lewandowski, who is active in the lobbying world, for months had mulled launching an effort to win the Republican nomination to unseat Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, the two-term Democratic incumbent, in his home state next November.
But the 45-year-old Lewandowski, in Twitter posts on Wednesday, wrote that "after much consideration I have decided to forgo a campaign for the US Senate."
"While taking on a career politician from the Washington swamp is a tall order, I am certain I would have won. My priorities remain my family and ensuring that @realDonaldTrump is re-elected POTUS," Lewandowski wrote.
If he had run, Lewandowski would have squared off against several previously announced candidates, among them former New Hampshire House Speaker William O'Brien, retired Brig. Gen. Don Bolduc and lawyer Bryant "Corky" Messner in a Republican primary for the Senate race.
New Hampshire Democratic Party spokesman Josh Marcus-Blank said in a prepared statement: "Every Republican running for Senate in New Hampshire has stood proudly with Corey Lewandowski and Donald Trump in their efforts to take away health care from tens of thousands of Granite Staters and reverse Roe vs. Wade."
"While Messner, Bolduc, and O'Brien tear each other down in the contentious primary Lewandowski has left behind, Senator Shaheen will continue working across the aisle for New Hampshire, leading efforts to lower prescription drug costs and making sure veterans and their families get the benefits they deserve," he said.
Lewandowski was fired from Trump's first campaign in June 2016.
At the time, national Republicans reportedly had concerns about his ability to run a national operation.
He also faced a criminal battery charge after he grabbed a Breitbart News reporter during a March 2016 campaign event. That case was dropped a month later.
Lewandowski earlier this year testified before the House Judiciary Committee as the panel gathered information for what became an impeachment of Trump.
His decision not to run in New Hampshire comes as Republicans are aiming to hold on to, or possibly expand, their 53-47 majority in the Senate after 2020.
Flipping New Hampshire — one of the few states where Trump ran a close race in 2016 and where a Democrat faces reelection now — would make that task much easier. Trump lost New Hampshire by just 0.3 percentage points in 2016.
Shaheen, who has a long record of winning races in a state that has leaned Democratic in recent presidential elections, could prove tough for the eventual GOP nominee to beat.
Lewandowski has worked to turn his ties to Trump into an asset since the president took office in 2017. While he is not officially lobbying, the former campaign manager has worked as an advisor at lobbying firm Turnberry Solutions.
Trump put his weight behind a possible Lewandowski campaign earlier this year. In a radio interview with "New Hampshire Today," he called his former campaign manager "a fantastic guy."
"I will say this, if he ran — he would be a great senator — if he ran and won he would be a great senator," the president said.
New Hampshire has leaned blue in recent elections. Shaheen won her reelection bid in 2014 by about 3 percentage points over former Massachusetts GOP Sen. Scott Brown.
In 2016, Hillary Clinton beat Trump by only about 3,000 votes, while Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan beat incumbent GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte by an even smaller margin.
But Republican Gov. Chris Sununu won by about two percentage points in 2016, then carried the state comfortably last year (the state elects its governor every two years).