Retired Army Brigadier General Don Bolduc, the Republican challenger for Sen. Maggie Hassan’s seat (D-NH), candidly shared some of his strategy ahead of Thursday’s debate.
“What are you gonna do when she says: ‘Don, you’re an election denier’?” right-wing radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt asked on his show.
“Quite frankly, I’m gonna completely avoid it and go into what you just said,” Bolduc replied. “You know, that being an election denier or being accused of being an election denier is not what Granite Staters are thinking about, and she would know that if she got out on the ground. And she’s not on the ground — she thinks that people are going to take that to the ballot box and they’re not.”
Bolduc has struggled to shake his history of election denialism as he’s tried to move to the middle to compete in the general election. Back during the primaries, he was comfortable embracing the Big Lie.
“I very much believe it and I think it exists,” he told the New Yorker last year when asked if he truly believed that the 2020 election was stolen from then-President Donald Trump through voter fraud.
During an August primary debate, he said: “I signed a letter with 120 other generals and admirals saying that Trump won the election, and, damn it, I stand by my letter. I’m not switching horses, baby.”
Shortly after he won the primary, he tried to recalibrate to net the crossover appeal he’d need to win a statewide election in New Hampshire, where President Joe Biden won in 2020 by over seven points.
“I’ve done a lot of research on this, and I’ve spent the past couple weeks talking to Granite Staters all over the state from every party, and I have come to the conclusion — and I want to be definitive on this — the election was not stolen,” Bolduc said on Fox News.
Days later, he appeared on a podcast hosted by a QAnon influencer, where he seemed to attribute his change of heart to political expediency.
“The narrative that the election was stolen, it does not fly up here in New Hampshire for whatever reason,” he said on The Mel K Show.
“What does fly,” he added, “is that there was significant fraud and it needs to be fixed.”
Hassan has used Bolduc’s election denialism to paint him as too extreme for the state.
Earlier this month, per FiveThirtyEight’s polling aggregate, Hassan had built a lead of over eight points. Last week, the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), announced that it would yank millions in ad buys from the race.
But the National Republican Senatorial Committee said that it’s jumping back into the race this week. The decision came on the heels of a new poll from Emerson College released Monday showing Hassan leading by just three points.