Former senior White House advisor to the State Department and New Hampshire GOP Executive Director Matt Mowers is running to unseat freshman incumbent Democrat Representative Chris Pappas in New Hampshire’s First Congressional District.

He was led to run for Congress because he was “frustrated” by the Speaker Pelosi-led House of Representatives and the deceit of freshman Democrats, particularly his opponent. “[They] promised to get things done but the moment they got down there [to Washington, D.C.], they fell in lockstep with [Speaker] Pelosi.” While serving in the State Department, he worked on projects that showed how socialist regimes like North Korea and Venezuela crush individual freedoms. Having moved thirteen times in his early childhood, one could assume that he’s nearly seen it all. However, he experienced something new on Thursday – the amount of mudslinging that Republican women face online. On Thursday, FFL spoke with Mowers concerning a recent endorsement.

Mowers entered this month with the backing of 25 New Hampshire GOP activists, former Trump campaign manager and current Trump campaign senior advisor Corey Lewandowski, and United States House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. During this time, virtual attacks and insults typically originated from New Hampshire Democrat operatives, but were manageable. He said of the replies at the time: “The Democratic Party in New Hampshire can’t stand the idea of a young conservative”, especially one that is competitive in a congressional race. After Mowers was endorsed by President Trump on June 11th, he acknowledged that the attacks were standard fallout after a tweet from the President. 

The insults reached a new low after Representative Elise Stefanik, a young star in the GOP, released her endorsement of Mowers. All of a sudden, the replies evolved into malice-laden insults that had nothing to do with policy. The most disrespectful replies ridiculed Mowers’ appearance and Stefanik’s physical traits. The response that surprised Mowers the most was from a New Hampshire elected official, Democrat State Representative Rosemarie Rung. Rung tweeted of the endorsement, “Next up for [Matt Mowers]: clinching the endorsement of the stray cat hanging outside the local Chik-fil-a (sic)”, insinuating that Stefanik was worth less than a stray cat. Many people, both with and independent of the campaign, came to her defense.

“This is another example of a double standard in politics,” Mowers said of this exchange. “A Democrat state representative made an awful comment online [about a sitting Congresswoman] and neither the state Democratic party nor Chris Pappas have said anything to condemn it…People like Rosemarie get a pass from [Democratic] leadership and the media when they should hold her accountable…The left hates it when a conservative woman bursts their stereotype of a Republican. Stefanik shows them that you can be a strong Republican woman and it’s a testament to that strength.” This tweet is not a one-off thing for Rung either — in 2017, she tweeted at former White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders asking why she was spending time on Twitter instead of taking care of her children.

As the dust settled, Mowers told me that this experience made him have “so much more respect for young conservative leaders like Stefanik that have to put up with and fight against this type of rhetoric every single day.” He hopes that young conservatives looking to get involved are not dissuaded from their dreams because of online replies like these; conservative voices are important now more than ever.

Jillian K