Former Trump administration State Department appointee Matt Mowers labeled Democratic U.S. Rep. Chris Pappas a clone of Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday, promising to bring a new generation of conservative leadership to the 1st Congressional District.
Mower, a 30-year-old Bedford resident, signed his Declaration of Candidacy before dozens of supporters during a virtual Zoom event and then spoke with WMUR. He plans to file his paperwork for his candidacy Wednesday afternoon at the State House, becoming the first candidate to file for a major office in 2020.
The filing period opens at 8 a.m. Wednesday and closes at 5 p.m. Friday, June 12. Mowers is expected to face former Dover City Councilor and former New Hampshire Republican Party Vice Chair Matt Mayberry in a GOP primary on Sept. 8.
Mowers has a wide breadth of experience in politics in view of his age. He is a former aide to former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, a former executive director of the New Hampshire Republican Party, former New Hampshire director of Christie’s presidential campaign, former Trump campaign battleground states coordinator and former chief of staff to Dr. Deborah Birx in the State Department’s Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator.
“I honestly believe Chris Pappas has let us down,” Mowers said. “He said he was going to be different, he said he was going to be independent. He said he was going to work with the president to get things done, and he absolutely let us down on every single one of those metrics.”
“I care deeply about making sure we have an advocate for New Hampshire’s small businesses, for New Hampshire’ middle class families, for New Hampshire’s veterans, someone who’s going to provide that independent conservative leadership that’s needed to deliver for them.”
Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, Mowers said, “I think Chris Pappas has delivered a lot for Nancy Pelosi. I don’t’ think he’s delivered for the people of New Hampshire.”
Update: Later Wednesday, New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Raymond Buckley blasted Mowers as a “craven political opportunist” who is “using our state to buy a seat in Congress so he can fall in line behind Donald Trump and do his bidding at the expense of Granite Staters.
“From repealing health care to promoting a total ban on abortion without exception to continuing to give Donald Trump his full support as he tear-gassed peaceful protesters for a photo op, Matt Mowers is not only wrong for the Granite State, he’s dangerous.”
Mowers, meanwhile, said that when the Paycheck Protection Program ran out of money for a week, Pappas was on a “taxpayer-funded vacation” 4.4 million people filed for unemployment.
Mowers said that while he is a strong supporter of Donald Trump, there are differences.
“I think we need to put a lot more focus on reining in spending,” he said. “We’ve had Republican congresses, along with president, who have not always made that the focus, and we need to make that more of a focus. That’s an area where I want to go down there and really show some leadership on.”
Mowers noted that his seriousness about working on behalf of constituents was shown by signing the U.S Term Limits Pledge to serve no more than three two-year terms if elected.
While concerned about federal spending, Mowers praised Trump for his get-tough policy with China, not only on the COVID-19 crisis, but also on trade, forced technology transfers and theft of intellectual property, as well as other trade deals secured by Trump that Mowers said has helped American workers.
He said that his experience at the State Department showed him how global issues can affect U.S. citizens.
“We’ve had a lot of politicians talk over the years about the opioid crisis and the influx of illegal drugs,” he said. “In my first week at the State Department, I received a briefing that said the predominant amount of illegal drugs that came into northern New England came from Mexico, across the southern border and then up to Lawrence, Massachusetts, and spread out throughout the rest of northern New England.
“That’s why I support building a wall,” Mowers said. “I know for a fact that it’s going to help stop the influx of illegal drugs. It’s also allowed me to understand that the influx of drugs also comes because of the illicit sale and shipment from China through the mail.”
“I’ve worked on those issues and it helped me to understand that a focus on national security can really tie very close to home.”
On the opioid crisis, Mowers said he has also conferred with local police and with treatment experts and recovering addicts.
Mowers also said he has deep concern about racial unrest in the nation.
“First and foremost, what we saw with George Floyd was sad and enraging,” he said. “To see anyone in a position of power like that to abuse it and commit a heinous crime is really infuriating. The folks who commit those crimes should be held accountable.
“It shows that there continue to be issues in individual police departments around the country,” he said. “But we need to make sure people feel safe in their community in terms of race, and what we’ve seen is that rioters and those trying to incite violence are trying to disrupt that.”
“I support the president’s efforts to do whatever it takes to ensure that we have peace in our communities,” Mowers said.
“And I haven’t seen Pappas say one thing about violence and looting. I’m happy to have a real conversation about community policing, but we need to ensure that we’re speaking with a unified voice to condemn the violence we’re seeing, and we haven’t seen that from Pappas and a lot of the other folks there.”
Speaking earlier to supporters, Mowers called his campaign “an amazing movement.” He said the COVID-19 pandemic and security concerns surrounding the riots in many cities “has highlighted to us the importance of this campaign. It’s highlighted over the past five months moreso why we need a new member of Congress to do down to Washington, D.C., somebody who’s going to represent New Hampshire, the ‘Live Free or Die’ state, and not just be one more vote for Nancy Pelosi.”
“We’ve seen this Congress move further and further to the left and Chris Pappas has been part of it,” Mowers said. “They voted to give proxy voting recently. We all know that Chris Pappas has been a proxy vote for Nancy Pelosi from the moment he got to Congress. He’s voted with her 100 percent of the time.
“He puts Nancy Pelosi’s interests ahead of the people of New Hampshire and it’s time for a change.”