EXCLUSIVE: Karoline Leavitt, the 24-year-old former spokeswoman for House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik and a former assistant press secretary for President Trump, said the American dream is “completely out of reach” for her generation of voters due to Democrats’ policies.
Leavitt, who has been endorsed by Stefanik, R-N.Y., and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said she returned to the Granite State last year from Washington, D.C., to “step into the arena and fight.”
In an interview with Fox News this week, Leavitt said the issues most important to New Hampshire voters are “the economy, record inflation and skyrocketing gas prices.”
“We are a cold weather state here in New Hampshire, and we’re headed for a very dark and scary winter, where people are literally going to have to choose between eating and heating, and so those are the main concerns of constituents here,” Leavitt said. “We are the ‘live free or die’ state. We believe in less government and more freedom. So, my goal, as the next congresswoman from New Hampshire, is to get the federal government out of our economy.”
The U.S. economy shrank in the spring for the second consecutive quarter, meeting the criterion for a recession as record-high inflation and higher interest rates forced consumers and businesses to pull back on spending.
The Biden administration, though, says the U.S. “is not in a recession,” despite a recent GDP report, saying it is “no surprise that the economy is slowing down” amid inflation.
“Young people, arguably more than any population in America right now, are feeling the effects of this administration with skyrocketing rents in cities across this country, with the inflation that’s making life incredibly unaffordable for us, with the gas prices,” Leavitt told Fox News.
Leavitt added that the “American dream is completely out of reach for my generation of voters.”
“It’s my hope to allow them to understand and to break through the propaganda they’re hearing on social media, in the mainstream media, on their college campuses and get them to understand, you know, our state of the country is because of Democrat policies,” Leavitt said.
Leavitt has also been endorsed by Charlie Kirk, the founder and president of Turning Point USA, a national student movement dedicated to identifying, organizing and empowering young people to promote the principles of free markets and limited government.
Leavitt told Fox News she doesn’t “blame Generation Z and millennial voters for believing in socialism.”
“It’s in every institution in our country,” she said.
“If we want to break through that monolithic group think and reach out to these voters, it is going to take young candidates in Congress, people like myself, to do that,” Leavitt said.
Leavitt said she has traveled to nearly every college campus in New Hampshire to reach out to voters between ages 18 and 30.
But Leavitt isn’t the youngest candidate in the race to take on Democrat Rep. Chris Pappas in November. Tim Baxter, a first-term member of the New Hampshire House, said he is one week younger than Leavitt and also will turn 25 before the GOP primary Sept. 13.
“I don’t believe in identity politics. I think you’re never too young or too old to make a difference,” Baxter told Fox News, adding he thinks voters “should vote for whoever they think is the best candidate.”
Baxter told Fox News he is the “only proven conservative fighter in the race.”
Pappas won re-election in 2020 by five points in what’s long been a top congressional battleground district.
Republican Matt Mowers, who won the GOP congressional nomination two years ago, is running again for the seat.
Mowers, who is 32, is also a veteran of the Trump administration, having served as a senior advisor and former diplomat at the State Department, as well as chief of staff for Dr. Deborah Birx. Mowers was also a longtime political aide to former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and a former New Hampshire GOP executive director.
Mowers has the endorsement of three top officials in the Trump administration — former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former acting director of National Intelligence Rick Grenell. He’s also backed by the top two Republicans in the House — Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Minority Whip Steve Scalise.
“It’s time for a new generation of conservative leaders, which is why I am running for Congress,” Mowers said. “We need fresh blood in Washington who won’t back down from a fight.”
But the other candidates in the race, like Gail Huff Brown, told Fox News “Granite Staters deserve a voice in Congress with the life experience to get things done.”
Huff Brown is a former longtime television reporter and wife of former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown who later served as ambassador to New Zealand during the Trump administration.
“As a mother, a new grandmother, a military spouse and a journalist, I understand that the issues we face every day require more than talking points to solve,” she said. “Under Joe Biden, we have runaway inflation, sky-high fuel prices and are now in a recession. Fixing this requires more than the performative rhetoric we see from my opponents.”
Huff Brown, 60, added: “Experience matters.”
And 61-year-old Russell Prescott, a former longtime New Hampshire state senator vying for the GOP nomination, agreed.
“What adds to the ability to be effective in Washington, D.C., is to have experience,” Prescott said, highlighting his nearly four decades of business experience and his time in state government and on the campaign trail.
“The experience is very broad and very deep, and it assists me on how to answer questions, how to build consensus, how to pass legislation one step at a time that lasts and take the problems head-on, on my first day on the job in Washington D.C.,” he said.
Leavitt also said her experience working alongside former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany during the Trump administration has prepared her for adversity in Washington.
“We went to battle against the fake news every single day that were attacking our president and attacking all of the people in this state and in this country who believed in him,” Leavitt said.
Leavitt told Fox News her campaign has raised more than $1.4 million.
The first GOP primary debate is set for Thursday. The New Hampshire GOP primary is Sept. 13.
If elected, Leavitt would be the youngest congresswoman in U.S. history.