Former Trump press employee Karoline Leavitt won the Republican primary in New Hampshire’s 1st congressional district, according to an Associated Press election announcement.
Leavitt, 25, is only the second member of Generation Z to win a House primary and the first Republican. The 2022 midseason is the first time the elders of Generation Z are eligible to run for the US House of Representatives, where 25 is the minimum age to serve.
Leavitt will now face incumbent Democrat Chris Pappas, 42, to represent the district. a folding seat Republicans hope to change as part of their goal of regaining a majority of House seats.
“They said I was too young, we could never raise the money to run and we could never beat a former Republican candidate,” Leavitt said in his victory speech Tuesday night.
“During the last year we spent more but we didn’t work more,” he exclaimed. “No way!”
Leavitt defeated former Trump state department official Matt Mowers, 33, who ran for the job in 2020 and lost to Pappas by five percentage points.
Mowers released a statement pledging to “never stop fighting” for middle-class families.
Although Mowers narrowly led the polls against Leavitt before the primary, the most recent University of New Hampshire Survey added uncertainty, finding that almost a quarter of those surveyed were still undecided just two weeks before the election.
Both candidates also ran with similar platformsbranding themselves staunch conservatives and political outcasts, while also touting their time working in the Trump administration.
Trump did not endorse either candidate in the primary race, but the matchup split support among Republican leaders in Congress.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise, the two highest-ranking Republicans in the House, threw their support behind the mowers. While New York Representative Elise Stefanik, in third place, endorsed Leavitt, who previously served as her spokesperson in Congress.
Leavitt’s connection to Stefanik ties partially to her historic start in Congress, when the New York congresswoman made history in 2014 as the youngest woman ever elected to the House when she took office.
“[Stefanik] was one of the few people, frankly, in Washington who believed in me to do this,” Leavitt said. told NPR in an interview earlier this summer.
“I know that Elise received the same sentence when she wanted to run, so she really believed in me and believed that I had what it took,” he added.
Throughout his campaign, Leavitt he framed his youth as an asset rather than a deterrent, arguing that younger voters need to hear more conservative voices, even though a most of those voters lean toward Democratic candidates.
“It’s a very one-sided culture that we live in,” Leavitt told NPR, “How do we break that mold? It’s by electing young people to office that can resonate with these voters, have a platform on the national stage, that can show them ideas, policies, values that they are not hearing in other places”.
But for Mowers, who is 33 years old and would easily be considered a younger member of Congressin this race, Leavitt is nearly a decade younger, bringing generational differences into the political spotlight.
Leavitt’s victory comes less than a month after Democratic candidate Maxwell Frost made history as the first member of Generation Z to win a congressional primary.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images