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What a Week: Everything You Need to Know About the Messy and Chaotic NH GOP Senate Primary

It was a whirlwind week for the Republican Senate candidates who faced off in two debates where they “sparred” over whose policy positions were most extreme and “criticized” each other for their temperaments and past statements. When the Republicans weren’t attacking each other, they bragged about endorsements from “secessionist state lawmakers,” “downplayed the effects of climate change,” “trash[ed] the FBI [and] 2020 election results” took deeply unpopular and extreme anti-choice positions, and said they would “support overturning the 17th Amendment.” Read more below: NH GOP Senate Candidates “Lob Barbs,” “Sparred,” and “Criticized” Each Other During Radio Debate Hosted by Jack Heath. The Pulse of NH: The Five Major US Senate Republican Candidates Sparred In Our Live Debate On GMNH

  • In one of the few live debates of the primary season, the five main Republican candidates for the US Senate race squared off in the studios of the Good Morning New Hampshire Show on The Pulse of NH.

  • All the candidates said they opposed federal funding for planned parenthood. All candidates said they are pro life when it comes to the abortion debate.

  • All five of the candidates said an endorsement from former president Donald Trump in their race would have impact and all five said they would welcome a Trump endorsement.

  • Four of the five major candidates for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate attacked each other for past statements and temperament during a feisty two-hour radio debate Tuesday.

  • Former Londonderry Town Manager Kevin Smith played the role of chief aggressor, launching criticisms at retired Brig. Gen. Don Bolduc of Stratham and Senate President Chuck Morse of Salem, the two leading candidates in the latest Saint Anselm College poll.

  • "Your MO seems to be fire, ready, aim and speak before you think about these things," Smith said to Bolduc early in the debate on the "Good Morning New Hampshire" program with Jack Heath.

  • Bolduc said Smith brags about his record as a state legislator but claimed he missed 61% of the votes.

  • "You need to watch your flank, too. You make critical comments and you have to stop it. You act like a Democrat," Bolduc said.

  • All five candidates said they would welcome former President Trump's endorsement.

  • Smith, meanwhile, criticized what he termed Bolduc’s “shoot, ready, aim” approach, which has included Bolduc alleging, without evidence, that Sununu is a “Communist Chinese sympathizer.”

  • They all said they agreed with the state’s newly enacted 24-week abortion ban. They also all downplayed the effects of climate change.

  • The candidates were of a mind though, when asked by the debate’s moderator, Jack Heath, about accepting Trump’s endorsement.

  • “Anyone not want the endorsement of Donald Trump?” Heath said. “Ok, it’s quiet,” Heath noted.

Bolduc Unveils His List of Radical Endorsers.

  • Several state legislators who backed efforts to secede from the United States or dissolve the state government have endorsed Don Bolduc, a Republican Senate candidate in New Hampshire.

  • On July 26, Bolduc — a retired Army brigadier general and failed 2020 Senate candidate — released a list of 41 Republican state representatives endorsing his candidacy. This amounts to about one-fifth of the 206 current members of the New Hampshire House Republican Caucus.

  • Six of Bolduc's endorsers — Reps. Max Abramson, Dustin Dodge, Dennis Green, Raymond Howard, Diane Kelley, and Paul Terry — backed a proposed state constitutional amendment to provide "that the state peaceably declares independence from the United States and proceeds as a sovereign nation."

  • Those six were among just 13 "no" votes as 323 of their colleagues successfully moved to kill the amendment by deeming it "inexpedient to legislate."

  • Dodge, Green, and Howard also signed on as co-sponsors of the secession legislation.

  • In December 2020, Howard and three others on Bolduc's endorsement list — Reps. José Cambrils, Dave Testerman, and Scott Wallace — reportedly co-authored a letter calling for "termination of the state" of New Hampshire's government based on "fraud" in the 2020 election and declaring it "is, and Right ought to be a Free and Independent State as defined by Part I, Bill of Rights, Article VII."

  • Some of the other state legislators backing Bolduc have come under bipartisan criticism in the past for sharing bigoted messages online.

NH GOP Senate Candidates Don’t Consider Climate Change a “Top Concern.”

Politico: Congress Minutes: N.H. GOP Climate Shrug

  • None of the leading Republican contenders to take on Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) this fall in one of the nation's most closely watched Senate contests considered climate change a top concern during a Tuesday debate. They hit Hassan for backing the Democratic climate change, tax and health care legislation during the debate on "The Pulse of New Hampshire." [...] The last Republican to hold a Senate seat in New Hampshire, Sen. Kelly Ayotte, actually backed the Obama-era power plant regulation aimed at curbing carbon emissions, one of the few elected Republicans to do so. The state has generally been quite supportive of efforts to mitigate climate change.

Republicans Want to Get Rid of the FBI and the 17th Amendment.

  • Republican candidates in a New Hampshire Senate primary debate over the weekend raced to the right, casting doubt on the 2020 election and discrediting the FBI after the recent search of former President Donald Trump's home.

  • Speaking at a debate sponsored by the Government Integrity Project, a conservative group, retired Army Brig. Gen. Don Bolduc, cryptocurrency investor Bruce Fenton and former Londonderry Town Manager Kevin Smith all raised unfounded doubts about the last presidential election. None would affirmatively say that they knew who won the 2020 election — President Joe Biden won the election and numerous court cases and audits have not uncovered information that challenge that fact.

  • Fenton said that "we can’t tell what’s true,” but he knows there was “a lot of fraud” during the election; Smith said “it’s very unlikely that Joe Biden got 81 million votes” and said he’d support investigations into the 2020 election if elected; and Bolduc said “I signed a letter with 120 other generals and admirals saying Trump won the election, and damn it, I stand by [it].”

  • Bolduc and Fenton also said they support repealing the 17th Amendment, which allowed for the direct election of senators. Before that amendment was enacted, state legislators chose who would represent the state in the Senate.

  • Two of the other candidates vying to challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan this fall — failed 2020 Senate hopeful Don Bolduc and first-time candidate and crypto currency advocate Bruce Fenton — leaned into the outrage Donald Trump has been stoking online ever since federal agents retrieved highly sensitive documents from his Florida home.

  • "It's time to abolish the FBI and replace it with nothing," Felton told the crowd. "You shouldn't be able to raid a former president's house at any time," Bolduc offered in his defense of the embattled former president.

  • Two candidates for the Republican nod in New Hampshire's Senate race endorsed repealing the 17th amendment, which provides for the direct election of senators, during a candidate forum on Sunday.

  • But retired Army Brig. Gen. Don Bolduc, arguably the best known in the field following his unsuccessful 2020 bid for Senate, clapped back: "Yes, I would support its repeal. And I do trust you: I trust you to elect the right representatives to our statehouse and the right governor, so that they can make the right decision on what senator to send down to Washington, D.C. to work for you and not Washington, D.C. The genie's not out of the bottle — you can stuff that genie's head right back in there, throw his body in there, and put the cap on it."

  • A third candidate, bitcoin investor Bruce Fenton, agreed the amendment should go: "Yes, I'd support it because it brings more power to the people."

Punchbowl: News AM 8.15.22

  • Here’s an odd trend that was flagged to us by multiple people this weekend: Two top candidates running for the Republican Senate nomination in New Hampshire said during a debate that they’d support overturning the 17th Amendment. Yup, that’s the one that mandates popular election of U.S senators.

  • You also have some New Hampshire Senate GOP candidates asked during an event whether the FBI is a “terrorist organization.”

  • A New Hampshire Republican who’s promised to defy the presidential election results, should he be called upon to do so in 2024, is leading in that state’s Republican Senate primary. That Republican, Don Bolduc, received support from 32% of voters surveyed, doubling the support of his next most popular competitor Chuck Morse, at 16%, according to a new poll from the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College. If Bolduc sounds familiar to non-New Hampshirites, they may recall an interview he gave The New Yorker last year. When asked if he would “walk the walk” when potential election objections come before the Senate again in 2024, Bolduc replied, “absolutely.”


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