Heading into the 2022 election cycle, you can find few candidates in the Republican Party more enthusiastic about former President Donald Trump than New Hampshire US Senate candidate Don Bolduc.
In his last bid for the Senate, Bolduc praised the supporters on social media who wore his campaign sign to Trump events. He participated in several Trump rallies. He made a phone call to the then-president during his 2020 re-election bid and in September, ahead of the Republican primary, claimed he was the strongest candidate in the field to head to Washington. fight against the liberal government and “restore President Trump’s ‘America First’ agenda.” And when he won, the former president remarked.
“Strong words from President Trump,” Bolduc said in response to the ex-president’s congratulatory note in September. “Thank you sir!”
But as Bolduc, who lost to a Trump-endorsed opponent by 8 points in 2020, has transformed from an early interest to a legitimate threat to unseat Democratic incumbent Maggie Hassan, the former president’s influence on Bolduc’s populist campaign; all but gone.
Although Trump gave Bolduc an endorsement earlier this week, Bolduc’s staff completely ignored it, even as it was proudly voiced by such high-profile conservatives as former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, CPAC leaders Matt and Mercedes Schlapp, and Senators Tim Scott and Ted Cruz. and Mike Lee.
A few days after Trump’s endorsement, Bolduc took to Twitter to reflect additional demonstration of support Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a rising star in the Republican Party, is seen by some in the GOP base as Trump’s heir apparent. In the debate following Trump’s endorsement, Bolduc also avoided Hassan’s attack by trying to link him to the former president’s rhetoric about a stolen 2020 election, saying “we need to focus on the future” before moving on to inflation and gas prices. .
In a state President Joe Biden won by nearly double digits in 2020, that may be the smartest strategy politically, particularly since polls show Hassan holding a slight lead heading into Election Day.
During the campaign, Bolduc regularly faced questions about his belief in the “big lie,” back-and-forth on his previous stance on whether Biden was legitimately elected in 2020. Bolduc was described as a “strong and proud ‘Choice-denier’,” a big reason he won the nomination, but he later dropped out. He’s back, at least by bus, but that’s only a small part of the NH voter fraud. “
While Bolduc “welcomes President Trump and anyone who wants to change the direction of this country,” said his spokeswoman Kate Constantine. The Wall Street Journal He had yet to publicly acknowledge it until earlier this week.
In recent weeks, Bolduc has tried to cast himself as an independent-minded outsider, touring the state with a message that focused on Democrats’ performance on the economy — “warming up and eating,” he often says — and Hassan’s ties to the economy. The Biden administration.
A significant investment from Mitch McConnell’s Senate Leadership Fund and leadership from senior party leaders helped turn the gaffe-prone Bolduc into a legitimate candidate when his poll numbers rose from 41 percent in early October to 3 points behind Hassan. campaign closing days.
Meanwhile, Trump remains largely unpopular in the Granite State, with unfavorable ratings nearing 60 percent in a recent poll by Saint Anselm College. And Bolduc’s message that democratic politics does not work is a popular message.
“It’s the same reason President Biden isn’t in Manchester right now campaigning for Hassan,” said Neil Levesque, executive director of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College. Newsweek. “These kind of endorsements tend to make you cling to the unpopular person, and you kind of get attached to their popularity and whatever issues they’re dealing with. I think voters can generally understand where the candidates stand, but of course reminding them with an Endorsement isn’t helpful a week before the election.
“I guess the former president has no idea how obscene he is in New Hampshire,” he added. “Because I think if he did, and he really wanted Bolduch to win, he probably wouldn’t have done it.”
Newsweek Bolduc’s campaign has been contacted for comment.