New Hampshire primary voters are casting ballots on Tuesday in contests that test the power of President Trump’s endorsement and, on the Democratic side, resemble other recent primaries that have revealed the staying power of the Bernie Sanders wing of the party.
Driven by a surge in absentee voting, turnout is expected to approach or break records, a measure of enthusiasm ahead of the general election in a swing state that Mr. Trump visited the day after his renomination last month, and that Democrats hope to keep in their column.
In the Republican Senate primary, Mr. Trump endorsed Corky Messner, a wealthy lawyer who moved full-time to the state from Denver only in 2018 and has fought off accusations of carpetbagging. Mr. Messner led his rival, Don Bolduc, a retired Army general, by a healthy margin in a Granite State Poll last week.
The primary winner will almost certainly take on Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a Democratic former governor and two-term incumbent, who in the same poll, conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, held more than a 15-percentage-point lead in matchups with both Republican rivals.
The second most closely watched race is the Democratic primary for governor. Dan Feltes, the State Senate majority leader, is in a tight race with Andru Volinsky, a lawyer and education activist who was endorsed by Mr. Sanders, the Vermont senator. The support of Mr. Sanders, who won New Hampshire’s presidential primary in February, has helped rally progressive voters in a contest that has been little noticed compared with other face-offs this year between the Democratic left wing and the party establishment.
Mr. Volinsky broke with New Hampshire Democratic tradition and refused to take “the pledge,” a promise not to introduce sales or state income taxes. “We are the last Bernie candidate standing,” said Irene Lin, Mr. Volinsky’s campaign manager.
Despite being outspent by Mr. Feltes, Mr. Volinsky had a slight two-point lead in the Granite State Poll, within the margin of error.
But again, the primary winner is likely to face a popular incumbent, Gov. Chris Sununu, a Republican. Largely driven by his response to the coronavirus outbreak, Mr. Sununu’s stock has risen all year; he now has the approval of seven in 10 New Hampshire voters.
In another consequential race, Matt Mowers, who worked in the Trump administration, also received the president’s endorsement, in the Republican primary for the First Congressional District. The winner of the crowded field will take on Representative Chris Pappas, a Democrat, who is favored to hold the seat by several nonpartisan ratings analysts.
In Rhode Island, which also holds primaries on Tuesday, only one of its two congressional districts features competitive races: Representative Jim Langevin, a 10-term Democrat, faces a challenger, while Republicans are also competing to face the winner in the general election two months from now.
The Trump campaign has said it views New Hampshire — which the president lost in 2016 by fewer than 3,000 votes, less than one percentage point — as a pickup opportunity this year. But last week, the president’s campaign pulled back television ads it had booked for the state this week (as did the Biden campaign). It suggests the race there may be less competitive than Mr. Trump had hoped for.