Corey Lewandowski, the polarizing political operative who was President Trump’s first 2016 campaign manager, said Tuesday that he would not seek a United States Senate seat in New Hampshire, ending months of speculation about a run that had put some Republican state leaders on edge.
Mr. Lewandowski, who faced the prospect of a grueling primary race and a tough general election matchup against the Democratic incumbent, Senator Jeanne Shaheen, made his announcement in a series of tweets. He wrote that he was “certain” that he would have won, but had instead decided to focus on ensuring that Mr. Trump would be re-elected in 2020.
“I am truly humbled by the outpouring of support I have received from people across New Hampshire and the country,” he said, adding that he would endorse a Republican candidate “in the near future.”
A bid by Mr. Lewandowski would have had support from key parts of Mr. Trump’s political apparatus in a rare race where Republicans have a chance to pick up a Senate seat in 2020. It would also have tested the appetite for Trumpism in a purple state with a Republican governor where Hillary Clinton very narrowly won in 2016 and Ms. Shaheen won her Senate race two years earlier by less than three percentage points.
At least three Republicans are already in the contest: William O’Brien, a former speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives; Donald Bolduc, a retired Army brigadier general; and Corky Messner, a businessman and veteran.
In August, Mr. Trump all but endorsed Mr. Lewandowski in an interview with a New Hampshire radio host. “I will say this — if he ran, he would be a great senator. If he ran and won, he’d be a great senator,” Mr. Trump said in the interview.
Mr. Lewandowski helped Mr. Trump notch his first primary victory in New Hampshire in February 2016, beginning Mr. Trump’s march to the Republican presidential nomination. Mr. Trump’s children fired Mr. Lewandowski as the campaign manager less than five months later, but the president has retained a fondness for him and speaks with him often.
If he had run in New Hampshire, Mr. Lewandowski’s business activities would have been the subject of intense scrutiny. While Mr. Trump has been in office, Mr. Lewandowski has been an adviser to companies that have interests with the government.
In May 2017, Mr. Lewandowski left the lobbying firm he helped start, Avenue Strategies, amid questions about whether he was lobbying without having registered. Since then, Mr. Lewandowski has had private clients and for many months gave paid speeches to various groups. Mr. Lewandowski has previously said he is not a lobbyist, and that he has never called government officials on behalf of a client.
Nonetheless, some Republicans, both in New Hampshire and in Washington, had expressed skepticism about whether Mr. Lewandowski would ultimately enter the Senate race, in part because doing so would have forced him to file financial disclosure forms that would have provided additional details about his work.
Mr. Lewandowski has also faced allegations of assault: In 2016, during the campaign, he was accused of grabbing a reporter for Breitbart News who was trying to ask Mr. Trump questions. Mr. Lewandowski was charged with simple battery by the police in Jupiter, Fla.; the charges were later dropped. The following year, a pop singer accused Mr. Lewandowski of slapping her at a party in Washington.
In a statement on Tuesday, a spokesman for the New Hampshire Democratic Party sought to tie Republicans to Mr. Lewandowski and Mr. Trump even without Mr. Lewandowski in the race.
”Every Republican running for Senate in New Hampshire has stood proudly with Corey Lewandowski and Donald Trump in their efforts to take away health care from tens of thousands of Granite Staters and reverse Roe v. Wade,” said the spokesman, Josh Marcus-Blank. “While Messner, Bolduc and O’Brien tear each other down in the contentious primary Lewandowski has left behind, Senator Shaheen will continue working across the aisle for New Hampshire, leading efforts to lower prescription drug costs and making sure veterans and their families get the benefits they deserve.”
Maggie Haberman contributed reporting.