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Meet the Republicans running for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire: Chuck Morse

Mary McIntyre
Chuck Morse, a Republican from Salem, has served four terms as New Hampshire Senate President.

Leading up to New Hampshire’s state primary on Sept. 13, we've asked local voters to share what issues they most want to see candidates talk about this election season.

With a wide open Republican primary for U.S. Senate, NHPR is speaking with the top candidates in that race to learn more about where they stand on some of the most common concerns voters have shared with us so far. The winner of that primary will face incumbent Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan in November.

Read on for NHPR Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley’s interview with State Senate President Chuck Morse.

What questions do you have for the candidates running for governor, U.S. Senator and Congress? What issues do you most want them to address while seeking your vote? Share your thoughts here.


Editor’s note: This transcript has been edited lightly for clarity.

Rick Ganley: There's been a lot of misinformation around election security and voter fraud, both nationwide and here in New Hampshire. An NPR poll from earlier this year found that 64% of Americans believe that U.S. democracy is in crisis. Do you believe that the 2020 election was conducted fairly?

Chuck Morse: I believe we determined a president in that vote. And I do believe what we do in New Hampshire is our elections are honest, open and we determine who's the winner by that night. And I think that's the way we should be doing it in the country.

Rick Ganley: Many people in New Hampshire are struggling with costs of day-to-day living as inflation nears a four-decade high. What are some approaches at the federal level that you would support to immediately help lower costs for people living right here?

Chuck Morse: Well, I noticed you said federal, so we'll get away from the state of New Hampshire. But I do think it's what we do in New Hampshire that needs to go to the federal level. I think we have to stop spending and stop borrowing. I really do think that's the problem that's going on in Washington right now. And I do think I can add to making that fix.

Rick Ganley: Can you point to some areas specifically or some legislation specifically that you would be in support of?

Chuck Morse: Yeah, well, let me just point to what's happened recently. I think, you know, the two pieces of legislation that are being talked about, one, that's actually not legislation on student loans. We're going to take on a half a trillion dollars in debt. I think that's absolutely wrong. But we also passed another bill that's supposed to be fighting inflation, and it's just going to add to the debt in this country two weeks ago. And I think we got to stop this.

Rick Ganley: You helped pass the 24-week abortion ban here in New Hampshire last year. Would you support further restrictions in the state or abortion restrictions on the federal level?

Chuck Morse: Yeah. Understand what we did in New Hampshire, because I think we should make this clear. What we did in New Hampshire in that budget was we made sure that abortions were stopped in the seventh, the eighth and the ninth month. And that's not what Maggie Hassan is proposing nationally. She's proposing you can have abortions right through the pregnancy and that the government will pay for it. We don't allow that here in New Hampshire.

Rick Ganley: So would you be in favor of federal legislation further restricting abortions?

Chuck Morse: No, I think what happened with the courts making the decision to send it back to the states, the states should be making those decisions.

Rick Ganley: And about here in New Hampshire. Would you be in favor of any further restrictions here on a state level?

Chuck Morse: Well, I'm a pro-life candidate. I'd continue if I was in the New Hampshire legislature to fight for pro-life.

Rick Ganley: And you would want further restrictions on procedures?

Chuck Morse: Yeah, but I think what we did in New Hampshire was the first time in 50 years that we could come up with something that everybody was talking about. Eighty percent of the people actually think we should be doing something about it. And what we passed in New Hampshire right now, the Legislature agreed on.

(Editor’s note: We’ve followed up with the Morse campaign to request clarification on the above statistic and will update this post with more details.)

Rick Ganley: Out of all the responses we received from our listeners asking what's on their minds this election season, the top issue by far that people said they were concerned about is climate change. Now, do you believe climate change poses an imminent threat to the health of the planet?

Chuck Morse: I think what's going on there is actually something that, you know, I'm a nursery man. I probably planted more trees than anyone that you're talking to in my lifetime. And I find it to be ridiculous that people that are flying around in jets and sipping on their wine can be telling us as Americans what we're going to do when there's other countries that they are not telling that they should clean up their countries. I really do think, in America, we're doing a great job. We really do care about the climate in America. I think we should keep going with that. But I really think the message ought to be sent to some of these other countries. You know, China is going to build 60 coal fired plants this year alone, and we're not saying anything. I really think we ought to make sure that other countries are living up to this.

Additional coverage from NPR: China pledges to reduce fossil fuel reliance while increasing coal use

Rick Ganley: Would you support efforts on the federal level to combat climate change?

Chuck Morse: I think those federal level efforts need to be put on those countries that are not doing anything to help this right now.

Rick Ganley: But what do we do about it right here at home?

Chuck Morse: I think we are doing it. I think, you know, we're working as hard as we can to make changes in this country. And I think those changes should include all of the above, because the one thing that the Biden administration has decided is we're not going to have petroleum in this country. And look what it's doing to us here in New Hampshire. I'm hearing it everywhere, what people are paying for gas and oil, and they're scared to death of what it's going to cost to heat their house this fall.

(Editor’s note: On the campaign trail, President Biden pledged to halt new oil and gas development on federal land and waters. However, his administration has since taken steps to open public lands to fossil fuel development.)

Rick Ganley: I want to turn to immigration and border policy. It's a concern that many voters have in this upcoming election. What's one specific immigration policy that you would support or propose in the U.S. Senate?

Chuck Morse: Yeah, I think the first thing we ought to do is close the border. That's the first policy we should enforce, because I went down to that border and it was pretty obvious that this country letting in 2 million people, at the time I went down there, is a real problem. We know about the drugs. We're feeling it right here in New Hampshire. But those 2 million people, they're starting to show up on our doorsteps here in New Hampshire. That's a problem for this country. We ought to close that border and we ought to build that wall.

(Editor’s note: U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports 1,734,868 encounters with people arriving from other countries at the border in 2021. However, not all of those individuals crossed into the U.S. from Mexico.)

Click here for more information on the criteria NHPR uses to determine which U.S. Senate candidates we're interviewing ahead of the primary.


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