Seacoast Current invited each of the candidates in the Republican primary for a "live to tape" unedited interview lasting 10-15 minutes with Dan Alexander and SNHU Civic Scholar and founder of NH Political Capital Dean Spiliotes. Candidate Russell Prescott's campaign did not respond to Seacoast Current's invitation.

If Tim Baxter is a self-described "rock solid conservative," rival Matt Mowers says he is a "tough and tested" conservative in the First Congressional District Republican primary.

Mowers, who earned the endorsement of then-President Donald Trump in the 2020 primary and general election, is hoping for a second shot at incumbent Democrat Rep. Chris Pappas. Trump has not endorsed any of the candidates as of August 28, three of whom have direct ties to his administration.

"I served as senior White House advisor at the State Department. It's an area where I was able to work on accruing the XL pipeline with him. We actually worked to disrupt the international narcotics trade by getting tough on the fentanyl that was being mailed in by China and drugs that were coming in across the southern border as well," Mowers said. "We worked on ensuring religious freedom for people around the world."

After working in national security, Mowers said he came home and started a small business working with startups.

Matt Mowers with his wife and son "Little" Jack
Matt Mowers with his wife and son "Little" Jack (Matt Mowers)

Common Ground With Chris Pappas?

Although both Pappas and Mowers are quick to point out their differences, they have share a bit of common ground in opposing President Joe Biden's order canceling up to $20,000 in college loans.

Mowers disagreed with the notion.

"What he said was he was against the process. What he hasn't told us is does he support or not transferring a bunch of college debt from folks who are now making six figures including a bunch of buddies of his from Harvard, to a bunch of people who are working every day who chose a different path, whether it was to go into a trade or work with their hands. Maybe folks who chose to do this the responsible way by not taking out more college loans than they could afford,"Mowers said.

"I agree with him that President Biden does not have the authority to do what he's doing. But I want to know if Chris Pappas would vote for this if it came before him in the House of Representatives. He hasn't given us that answer yet," Mowers said.

Mowers believes there is a chance that a court could overturn the order because of a "very creative interpretation" Biden is using to give himself the authority to forgive the loans.

"He and Nancy Pelosi a year ago were saying he didn't have the authority to do this. The only thing that's changed here is that the mid-terms are approaching and he has a complicated election season," Mowers said.

Mowers said the administration needs to be more fiscally responsible and look to New Hampshire as an example of living within one's means and not spending more money than one has.

"Chris Pappas has never done that for a day of his career and Joe Biden hasn't either. That's why things need to change in January," Mowers said.

Matt Mowers
Matt Mowers (Matt Mowers campaign)

Putting America First in Foreign Policy

An area of difference is the approach to foreign policy and how the United States gets involved. Mowers said he was part of the Trump Administration's decision to go after ISIS without putting U.S. troops on the ground.

"First and foremost, made sure to put the American people first every single day. We took it very seriously to ensure that we didn't get entangled in foreign commitments that were against America's interests," Mowers said.

The U.S. enlisted Russia and Syria who saw ISIS as a common enemy and let military leaders make the decisions, according to Mowers, which was a different approach than President Barack Obama's "micromanaging" during his administration. That approach kept Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese president Xi Jinping at bay because they knew the couldn't get away with anything under Trump.

"The thing I learned working with President Trump is that if you have a vacuum of American leadership, there's bad faith actors out there who will take advantage of it," Mowers said.

While he believes that the U.S. must stand in solidarity with Ukraine, if Biden had reacted more quickly to the Russian invasion, there may have been a different outcome.

The Need to Replace Washington Democratic Leadership

Mowers certainly differs with Pappas about the Inflation Reduction Act and the extensions of subsidies for Obamacare, and favors addressing the problems of the program.

"There are ways to provide access without overhauling the healthcare system and making insurance premiums double for small business owners the way we saw with the implementation of Obamacare. High risk insurance pools is part of that, allowing individuals to pool into community and association healthcare plans is another part of that," Mowers said.

He would also like to see health saving deductions increased to help young people who may choose to go without health insurance.

Despite the ugly tone and name-calling during some of the candidate debates, Mowers said he will support whoever wins the primary. Two polls give him the lead in the race over the other candidates trailing only "undecided."

"I'm confident I'm going to win this primary on September 13, because folks are ready for a tested conservative to go to Washington DC. Someone who's actually going to break up the system by supporting bans on stock trading and term limits and things like that as well," Mowers said. "But at the end of the day, we need to replace the folks who are down in DC and make sure Nancy Pelosi is not speaker of the House and that Joe Biden's administration is held accountable for his failures."

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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