Lewandowski says he is 'very close' to making decision on Senate bid in New Hampshire

Former Trump campaign manager Corey LewandowskiCorey R. LewandowskiDemocrats face make-or-break moment on impeachment The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump demands Bidens testify Pence files paperwork for Trump to be on New Hampshire ballot MORE said Thursday that he is “very close” to making a decision on whether to launch a campaign to challenge Sen. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenOn The Money: US paid record .1B in tariffs in September | Dems ramp up oversight of 'opportunity zones' | Judge hints at letting House lawsuit over Trump tax returns proceed Overnight Energy: EPA watchdog slams agency chief after deputy fails to cooperate in probe | Justices wrestle with reach of Clean Water Act | Bipartisan Senate climate caucus grows Overnight Defense: Trump, Erdogan confirm White House meeting | Public impeachment hearings set for next week | Top defense appropriator retiring MORE's (D-N.H.) in 2020.

Lewandowski touted his strong support from President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump faces high stakes in meeting with Erdoğan amid impeachment drama Democrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Trump threatening to fire Mulvaney: report MORE, telling Hill.TV that he is not ready to make an announcement quite yet, but would soon.

“With the encouragement from the president, I’ve had a lot of family discussions about it and we’re very close,” Lewandowski said.

Lewandowski said he is still accessing his chances, suggesting he would wait to see how the candidates in the crowded Republican primary fare.

“If they haven’t had the ability to raise significant resources to take on a two-term incumbent Democrat then it’s going to further motivate me to say, ‘I think I can get into this race, I know I can win the Republican primary and I can beat Jeanne Shaheen,'” he said.

The former Trump aide first told The Hill in early August that he was weighing a run against Shaheen, and he already boasts strong support from Trump.

Last month, Trump offered praise for Lewandowski, telling a local New Hampshire radio show that his former campaign manager would make a “great” addition to the Senate. Lewandowski previously served on Trump’s 2016 campaign team, but left during the primary season after an altercation with a female reporter that led to allegations of assault.

Several other Republican candidates, including former state House Speaker Bill O'Brien and retired Brigadier Gen. Donald Bolduc, have already announced campaigns to challenge Shaheen.

Democrats in the state, meanwhile, have started a digital ad campaign characterizing him "biggest swamp creature" in Washington, D.C., something Lewandowski has denied.

New Hampshire is viewed as a key White House and Senate battleground state in 2020. Trump won the historically conservative state in the Republican primary before ultimately losing to Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Krystal Ball credits Gabbard's upswing in 2020 race to 'feckless' Democratic establishment Outsider candidates outpoll insider candidates MORE in the 2016 general election. Shaheen, a two-term senator, received more than 50 percent of the vote in 2008 and 2014.

—Tess Bonn