The Republican candidate for US Senate in New Hampshire will be a far-right Republican who supports Donald Trump’s election fraud lie and has promised to decertify results in 2024.
Don Bolduc, a retired special forces general who has claimed to have suffered from PTSD and a traumatic brain injury, defeated state Senate President Chuck Morse to face incumbent Democrat Maggie Hassan in November.
Before Morse conceded, most, if not all, forecasters called the race for Bolduc.
The primary was the final in a series in which Republicans chose candidates aligned with Trump, raising concerns about their chances of winning the Senate in November.
In his defeat by Joe Biden, Bolduc, 61, repeated Trump’s lie about election fraud. He has also questioned whether the FBI should be abolished following the discovery of a cache of classified documents at Trump’s Florida estate.
Despite courting Trump, Bolduc has not received an endorsement. Trump did refer to Bolduc as a “strong guy.”
Bolduc spoke with the New Yorker in October. He said Trump’s appeal stemmed from the (notoriously reading-averse) former president’s reading and understanding of the constitution, as well as his “values and principles as an American, and the constitution, which I served for 33-plus years in the military.”
He also stated that “there was a tremendous amount of fraud” in 2020, adding, “I very much believe it and I believe it exists, and I believe it happens and has been happening in this country for a long time.” When you try to steal the presidency, many people will say, ‘OK, wait a minute. ‘What in the world is going on here?'”
On January 6, 2021, nine senators were among 147 Republicans who voted to object to election results in key states, despite the Capitol being stormed by a pro-Trump mob, a riot now linked to nine deaths, including law enforcement suicides.
When asked if he would “walk the walk” on Senate certification in 2024, Bolduc told the New Yorker, “Oh, absolutely… “Everyone I talk to believes in me.”
Bolduc also called January 6 a “complete failure of the political system,” blaming “the speaker of the House, the Senate majority leader, the minority leader,” and Vice President Mike Pence for refusing to reject electoral votes.
“They failed us,” Bolduc explained, “so now they’re trying to politicize it, turn it into something it’s not.”
He claimed that Trump supporters should not have used violence or destroyed property because they “believed their rights were violated.” They thought they’d lost their voice.”
Morse received the support of New Hampshire’s popular Republican governor, Chris Sununu, whose decision not to run against Hassan disappointed many Republicans.
Sununu referred to Bolduc as a “conspiracy theorist.” Bolduc referred to Sununu as a “Chinese communist sympathizer.” But the governor promised to “endorse and support whoever the nominee is, without a doubt.”
J Miles Coleman of the University of Virginia Center for Politics said in a newsletter on Wednesday that Sununu’s endorsement of Morse was nearly enough to defeat Bolduc. He also mentioned Democratic efforts to help the Trumpist Republican, which mirrored controversial tactics used in other states.
“Some Republicans complained that the Democratic-aligned Senate Majority PAC intervened against Morse – given the margin, this may have been the decisive factor, although Morse also received some help from Republican outside groups,” Coleman wrote.
One national Republican organization spent at least $4.6 million in support of Morse.
According to the UVA Center, the New Hampshire Senate race “leans Democratic.”
According to Linda Fowler, a political science professor at Dartmouth, Morse would have had a better chance of defeating Hassan because he would have appealed to independents, who make up the majority in New Hampshire.
“If Bolduc gets the nomination, the independents will vote for Hassan,” Fowler predicted before the outcome was known. “If he is not nominated, independents will have a serious choice.”
Neil Levesque, director of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, told the Associated Press Bolduc was the kind of candidate who would have struggled before Trump’s rise. Bolduc has never held elected office and had just $75,000 in cash on hand last week. But he was able to position himself as an ally of Trump.
“If it mirrors the former president, it’s been effective,” Levesque said.