For months, retired Gen. Don Bolduc has told audiences he believes the 2020 presidential election was stolen from former President Donald Trump, garnering support from the far-right wing of the state’s GOP for his U.S. Senate primary campaign.
But with a double-digit lead in the polls and a potential general election looming, Bolduc appears to be modifying his stance.
In an interview posted last week by left-leaning media outlet NHPR, Bolduc was asked about the lack of evidence that the 2020 election was stolen.
“Did I say it was stolen? I didn’t say it was stolen. I said that Granite Staters have issues and that’s what’s important. I just want to be clear on what I’m saying. That’s all. Thank you.”
That’s a very different answer from Bolduc’s appearance during an August 14 debate hosted by the Government Integrity Project. Asked if he believed Americans can conclusively determine who won the 2020 election, Bolduc did not hesitate.
“So I signed a letter with 120 other generals and admirals saying that Trump won the election and dammit, I stand by my letter. I’m not switching horses, baby. This is it.”
Bolduc confirmed his view of the election to NHJournal in May of last year, just days after the widely-publicized letter was released.
“I certainly do believe there was some lack of election integrity, and there was voter fraud that needs to be policed up,” Bolduc said at the time. “And 75 million people don’t believe it was fair.”
Bolduc repeated his view during a radio debate last month when host Jack Heath asked him directly if he though Biden won the last election legitimately.
“I signed a letter with 124 admirals and generals that stipulated I believed the election had fraud, and I concurred with President Trump’s assessment of it and I do not change my mind on that,” Bolduc said.
Former Londonderry Town Manager Kevin Smith, who is also running for the GOP nomination in the U.S. Senate primary, has repeatedly accused Bolduc of changing his stance on controversial issues based on the audience he is addressing.
“Don Bolduc once again panders to whatever audience is in front of him, changing his position to tell them what they want to hear,” Smith said in a statement. “People are tired of politicians who lie to them, and Don Bolduc has repeatedly lied to Granite Staters about his positions from abolishing the FBI, turning over U.S. Senate elections to politicians over people, and now about election integrity.”
“Maggie Hassan has lied about her record and flip-flopped on issues for years, and it’s clear Don Bolduc is no different.”
Asked about Bolduc’s apparent reversal, a spokesperson told NHJournal, “No. He hasn’t changed his position.”
Bolduc is widely viewed as the most “MAGA Republican” candidate in the race — though state Sen. Chuck Morse did recently declare himself “one of the MAGA Republicans” — and he is often compared to Trump-backed candidates like Blake Masters in Arizona and Dr. Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania. Both of those candidates strongly embraced Trump during their primary, but after becoming their party’s nominees modified their stances.
Masters scrubbed references to the 2020 election being stolen from his campaign website while Oz removed graphics quoting Trump’s endorsement. Oz’s Twitter bio during the primary read, “Trump Endorsed Candidate for U.S. Senate.” Not anymore.
Some political professionals say it is smart for Bolduc to begin repositioning himself for a possible general election matchup against Sen. Maggie Hassan.