First on NH1 News: Bolton backs Ayotte and 7 other GOP incumbents up for re-election
CONCORD – Former Ambassador John Bolton Tuesday will endorse and contribute to eight Republican U.S. senators and representatives running for re-election next year, including Sen. Kelly Ayotte, NH1 News has learned.
Bolton, through his John Bolton PAC, will contribute $5,000 to Ayotte’s re-election campaign, as well as to the 2016 campaigns of fellow GOP Sens. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Richard Burr of North Carolina and Rob Portman of Ohio. All five senators could face difficult re-election bids next year.
Bolton is also contributing $5,000 to the re-election campaigns of Reps. Lee Zeldin (NY-01), Will Hurd (TX-23), and Barbara Comstock (VA-10).
“I am excited to endorse and support these eight candidates for reelection who understand the most demanding issues America is facing at home and overseas,” Bolton said, in a statement obtained by NH1 News. “It is my principle concern to ensure that these GOP senators and representatives win their upcoming elections so they can safeguard America’s security and prosperity in today’s fast-changing global environment.”
An aide to Bolton tells NH1 News that to date this election calendar, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush “has endorsed 15 primary candidates, leading all other leadership PACs.”
In his statement, Bolton said that “Kelly (Ayotte) is one of the nation’s foremost voices for a strong defense and a sound national security strategy. She has led efforts to stop the release of dangerous terrorists from Guantanamo Bay, fought to prevent devastating cuts to the defense budget that undermine our military at a time of growing threats, and worked to rein in wasteful spending in Washington.”
Bolton passed on 2016 WH run
Bolton announced last month that he would not run for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.
Since last autumn, Bolton had been seriously considering a White House run, making five trips to New Hampshire, the first-in-the-nation primary state. He also made two visits each to Iowa, the first caucus state, and South Carolina, which holds the first southern contest in the presidential primary and caucus calendar.
If he had run, Bolton would have be considered a very longshot, even though foreign policy and national security are expected to play a larger role in the election.
Bolton also considered a bid for the 2012 GOP nomination before deciding against launching a campaign.
During the 2014 election cycle, Bolton’s political action committee and his super PAC raised more than $7.5 million and contributed more than $470,000 to some of the 87 GOP candidates that were endorsed. And the super PAC went up with a major digital ad campaign to back Republican candidates and causes in 14 states, including New Hampshire and Iowa.