A 23-year-old former staffer in the Trump White House announced her candidacy Tuesday for the 1st Congressional District Republican primary in 2022.

Karoline Leavitt of Atkinson, a St. Anselm graduate who now lives in Hampton was an Assistant Press Secretary under Kayleigh McEnany and Communications Director for Rep. Elise Stefanik.

Leavitt made it very clear in the video throwing her hat in the ring that she embraces many of the views of former President Donald Trump.

"I'm running for Congress because I really truly believe New Hampshire needs a conservative fighter in Washington DC and I know the people of New Hampshire believe that as well," Leavitt told Seacoast Current.

Leavitt said she was proud to help advance Trump's "America First" agenda and then work in Stefanik's office.

"It was there when I watched in horror as President Biden, Nancy Pelosi and Chris Pappas' radical agenda began to hurt Granite Staters and the American people across our country I felt compelled to stand up and fight and to bring a new generation of leadership to Washington," Leavitt said.

Leavitt's family has owned Leavitt Auto and Truck in Plaistow for nearly 30 years. The family also used to run Leavitt Ice Cream where she worked with her mom.

Julian Acciard, a former U.S. Marine, and State Rep. Tim Baxter have also announced runs for the seat currently held by Democrat Chris Pappas. Matt Mowers, who ran against Pappas in the 2020 general election, is mulling a potential rematch.

The district went for Trump in the 2016 presidential election but Biden won it in 2020.

Will the strong pro-Trump Message Win in CD1?

SNHU Civic Scholar Dean Spiliotes thinks her candidacy might play well to 30-35% of the electorate in the primary and she's got the buzz words down.

"She is basically speaking to Trump true believers, to the active base of Trump supporters. She sounds a little like she'd be great a Fox News commentator. She checked all of the key culture war boxes," Spiliotes told Seacoast Current after watching her announcement video.

Spiliotes said the key to winning the district is attracting independent and crossover voters which Pappas has done successfully in previous races.

"I've talked to a number of Republicans who have voted for Pappas in the past. Labeling him as a radical? I don't know how that's going to float in the general election," Spiliotes said.

Another key to the race will be how the district lines are drawn after redistricting.

"If there's some significant change in the composition of the district that makes it significantly more Republican maybe that will improve her chances a little bit," Spiliotes said.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee denounced Leavitt's candidacy describing it a part of "an ugly, competitive race to the furthest fringes of the far right."

"NH families cannot afford to have an inexperienced Trump acolyte like Karoline Leavitt representing them," the DCCC said in a statement.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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