Former governor and first term Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire and Republican challenger Don Bolduc tackled inflation, abortion, national security, the border crisis, election denial and more in their third and final debate in their crucial battleground state race that is one of a handful across the country that will likely determine whether the GOP regains a majority in the Senate.
But before the verbal crossfire at the debate stage, Bolduc – a former army general who served ten tours of duty in the Afghan war – was nearly assaulted upon arriving at the debate site at Saint Anselm’s College. . New Hampshire Institute of Politics Wednesday night.
According to Bolduc’s campaign, a spectator standing in the crowd outside the debate site took a jab at the former general as he arrived. The campaign says Bolduc was slightly scratched but not injured.
Rick Wiley of the Bolduc campaign told Fox News that the person who punched the former general appeared to be a libertarian activist.
Hassan’s campaign communications director Kevin Donohoe tweeted about the incident, writing, “Disgusting behavior. We’ve seen this same Libertarian Party activist get aggressive with our campaign volunteers during this debate and the last.”
Bolduc referenced the altercation towards the end of the debate, when he and Hassan discussed the brutal attack on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi husband at their home in San Francisco.
The GOP Senate candidate said “it’s a sign of political problems. Republicans and Democrats, who fuel problems with people who get them to the point where they’re so mad at an individual that they It happened to me outside just before I walked in. It’s true. It’s wrong and it needs to be stopped.
Bolduc’s campaign spokeswoman Kate Constantini told Fox News in a statement that “as the general said on stage tonight, it’s time to turn down the temperature of political discourse in this country.” Prior to the debate, an individual in the crowd gathered outside attempted to hit the general and was quickly apprehended and arrested. We appreciate the quick response from law enforcement at the scene.
The former general, who is making his second straight run for the New Hampshire Senate, has campaigned populist-style this cycle, emphasizing his MAGA-Republican and foreign credentials in a crowded and explosive GOP primary. In mid-September, Bolduc narrowly edged conservative Chuck Morse, the state senate speaker backed by popular GOP Gov. Chris Sununu, to win the nomination.
And over the past six weeks, Bolduc has slowly but surely eaten away at Hassan’s single-digit lead in public opinion polls. The most recent polls in the race suggest it is a margin of error contest with six days until the election.
The two candidates exchanged shots at the head of the debate on the burning issue of abortion.
For weeks, Hassan’s campaign and allied Democratic groups have featured clips of Bolduc from last year swearing he would “never vote pro-lifers” and celebrating from June the blockbuster decision to the conservative majority of the Supreme Court to overturn the historic decision Roe v. Wade’s decision, returning the issue of legalized abortion to the states.
But Buldoc told Fox News immediately after capturing the GOP nomination that if he were in the Senate, he would not support a proposal, unveiled earlier this month by the Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, to implement a 15-week federal abortion ban, because abortion is now a state matter.
Bolduc, during Wednesday’s debate, reiterated that “I promised all Granite Staters that I will not vote for any federal abortion legislation. This is a matter of state rights.”
Hassan stressed that “it is a fundamental right of a woman to make her own health care decisions and her health and safety, and I strongly believe that these decisions should be made by a wife and her doctor.
And the senator accused Bolduc “of voting for a national abortion ban and he’s trying to hide his record.”
“That’s an absolute lie,” the GOP challenger fired back, before alleging that Hassan “believes in abortion until birth.”
The senator retorted that “he is really trying to hide his extremism from the granite staters”.
On inflation, Hassan boasted that “I stood up to Big Pharma and passed legislation that will reduce prescription drug costs. My opponent says he wouldn’t have done that. gas until we see a big reduction in gas prices. My opponent stands with big oil and says he wouldn’t do that either.”
She has also shown support for the bipartisan spending bills she helped pass during the Trump and Biden administrations.
Bolduc pointed out that “I wouldn’t have voted for them. They were useless”.
And pointing to record inflation, he charged that ‘all her votes in the Senate have caused this heat and power problem that we have. Retirees are going back to work. She created it by her 100% support for politicians Joe Biden’s misses… She’s caused these problems for many granite staters who go through the winter not knowing how they’re going to feed their children and heat their homes.”
Hassan, responding, claimed that Bolduc was in the pockets of big oil, saying “you hear Don Bolduc sing the big oil song”.
Bolduc, who declared during the primary campaign that he supported of former President Donald Trump repeated unproven claims that his 2020 election loss to Biden was due to “massive voter fraud”, quickly reversed course after his nomination victory. In a Fox News interview a few days later, Bolduc said that after speaking with Granite Staters, he “came to the conclusion” that the 2020 presidential election “wasn’t stolen.”
Trump, who remained neutral in the Republican primary in New Hampshire, endorsed Bolduc on Monday but criticized him for overturning his views on the 2020 election.
“General Don Bolduc ran a great campaign to be the U.S. Senator for the beautiful state of New Hampshire. He was a loud and proud Holocaust denier, a big reason he won the nomination, but then disavowed it,” wrote Trump. on social networks.
“He’s since returned, at least by bus, but that’s only a small part of NH voter fraud. Nevertheless, Don Bolduc asked for my approval, and he got it, complete and total,” he said. added the former president.
During the debate, Hassan argued that Bolduc’s shifting answers on whether the 2020 election was stolen show that he is “an extremist, the most extreme candidate for the United States Senate that New Hampshire has seen. in modern history and continues to try to hide this from the Granite Staters”.
And she argued that “he spent over a year in New Hampshire fanning the big lie…he then started casting doubt on the 2022 election, saying there will be ballots. voting in the middle of the night”.
Given the chance to respond to Hassan’s attacks, Bolduc slammed the debate moderators, saying “thank you for giving her a softball because that’s exactly what she needed because she can’t hit a fastball.” .
And he stressed that “the main thing is that we have to focus on the future”.