One of the primary criteria for Republicans looking to curry the favor of Donald Trump and his followers in a GOP primary is stating — and stating loudly — that the 2020 election was stolen from the former president.
New Hampshire Senate candidate Don Bolduc filled that criteria. “I signed a letter with 120 other generals and admirals saying Trump won the election, and damnit I stand by my word,” he said during an Aug. 14 GOP debate.
Bolduc won the state’s Republican primary on Tuesday, albeit barely, and will now face incumbent Democrat Sen. Maggie Hassan in the general election. Trump was delighted. “Congratulations to General Don Bolduc, a great gentleman who started his military service as a Private, and ended it as a General – and now his BIG WIN in New Hampshire,” he wrote on Truth Social.
Democrats were also delighted, as they (and outside observers) believe the vulnerable Hassan has a far better chance of winning reelection against the radical Bolduc than she would have against Chuck Morse, the state Senate president and Bolduc’s vanquished primary opponent.
Perhaps understanding this, Bolduc now appears to be tempering some of his more extreme views — most notably his stance that the 2020 election was rigged. He had a rather difficult time responding to a question from Fox News on Thursday about whether he still believes the election was stolen.
“So … you know … we, uhh … we, uhh … you know, live and learn, right?” Bolduc stammered. “Umm, I’ve done a lot of research on this, and I’ve spent the past couple of weeks talking to Granite Staters all over the state, from, you know, every party, and I’ve come to the conclusion — and I want to be definitive of this — the election was not stolen.”
Bolduc went on to claim that there was indeed fraud in the election and that everyone is very concerned, but he acknowledged that “elections have consequences” and “unfortunately President Biden is the legitimate president of this country.”
Bolduc added that Biden is ruining the country, and that he wants to stop looking back toward 2020 and look ahead toward 2022 and 2024 — the same approach that appeared to lead Trump to rescind his endorsement of Alabama Senate candidate Mo Brooks earlier this year.
Bolduc isn’t the first Republican to reconsider their stance on the 2020 election after winning their primary. Trump-endorsed Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters scrubbed his campaign website of any mentions of the 2020 election being stolen after he won his primary early last month.