CONCORD, NH — New reporting from CBS News today spotlighted Nikki Haley’s record of supporting election deniers, including Don Bolduc, who Haley supported during his failed 2022 Senate run. After saying she wouldn’t support those who denied 2020 election results, Haley flip-flopped and endorsed Bolduc and other election-denying candidates in 2022 when it was politically convenient.
Haley is now banking on his support to win New Hampshire — even making him chair of her in-state campaign and running ads with him. Election denialism is wildly unpopular with Granite Staters, who want nothing to do with anyone who undermines democracy.
Read on for highlights:
CBS News: Nikki Haley turns to unlikely duo — Gov. Chris Sununu and Don Bolduc — to help her beat Trump in New Hampshire
Retired Army Brig. Gen. Don Bolduc, a veteran of 10 tours in Afghanistan and one of Haley's first endorsements, was the first to speak, touted Haley's support of his failed 2022 Senate run and explained why he signed on to be her New Hampshire campaign chair.
A seminal moment in Bolduc's 2022 race was his flip-flop over whether he believed the election had been stolen from Trump, an opinion shared by 19 other 2022 GOP Senate candidates, according to a CBS News analysis.
"I signed a letter with 120 other generals and admirals saying that Donald Trump won the election and, damn it, I stand by [it], Bolduc said in an August 2022 debate against Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan. "I'm not switching horses, baby. This is it," he added.
Haley's comments about her support for election deniers have not always been accurate. In a 2022 interview with the "Today" show, she said that she would not campaign for candidates who had denied the results of the 2020 election.
"Everybody that I'm helping acknowledges the fact that the elections, you know, were real," Haley said.
However, Haley had campaigned for Bolduc both before and after his remarks claiming Trump had won the election. She also campaigned for or endorsed other GOP Senate candidates who cast doubt on the results of the 2020 election: Adam Laxalt of Nevada, Herschel Walker of Georgia, Mehmet Oz of Pennsylvania and Ted Budd of North Carolina. Only Budd ultimately won his race.
Sununu was one of Bolduc's most vocal critics, calling him a "conspiracy-theorist-type candidate." In the Senate Republican primary, Sununu backed Bolduc's challenger in the race, Chuck Morse. In response, Bolduc called Sununu a "Chinese Communist sympathizer." But after Bolduc won the primary, Sununu eventually supported him in the general election.
Bolduc's involvement in Haley's campaign isn't without risk. A longtime New Hampshire political operative told CBS News he was polled via text by the Haley campaign on Bolduc's favorables, suggesting that Haley's team has some concerns about Bolduc's appeal to GOP primary voters, particularly independents.
"I wonder if they've calculated the paradoxical effect of Bolduc, and if they calculated the net loss percentage of putting him up front," the operative added. "They'll realize at some point after the fact they made a mistake here."