New Hampshire Senate nominee Don Bolduc, a Republican who has pushed the falsehood that the 2020 election was stolen, raised the unsubstantiated prospect that the same could happen in 2022 during an interview with a radio host in New Hampshire on Monday.
Bolduc’s comments highlight the fine line he is attempting to walk on false 2020 election claims as he faces Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan in what Republicans hoped would be a pickup opportunity for the party in a state President Joe Biden won by 7 points in 2020.
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Throughout the Republican primary, Bolduc was one of the staunchest purveyors of the false claim that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump. But days after he won his party’s nomination and faced a broader, less conservative electorate, he told Fox News he had changed his position and had “come to the conclusion… the election was not stolen.” The shift riled his conservative base and Bolduc waffled on the issue in the subsequent weeks.
On Monday, Bolduc went a step further by raising the prospect that some of the same issues that led Republicans to falsely claim the 2020 election was stolen could happen in 2022.
“And as long as we have this type of fraud and irregularities that are susceptible to our system across this country, we are going to be in big trouble,” Bolduc told radio host Jeff Kuhner. “So, it’s less about whether we focus on 2020 stolen election and how we focus on how we’re going to win in 2022 and don’t let it happen.”
He added: “How are they going to be able to explain the fact that we’re either in a dead heat or we are edging ahead of these Democrats for all the right reasons – the economy, the out-of-control spending, lack of security on our borders – and all of a sudden, a late night or some sort of dump with ballots or some sort of dump with votes that come from machines, and the next thing you know, you wake up in the morning and the election has changed? That is still real.”
In the wake of the 2020 election, one of the most fervent Republican complaints was that while early on election night vote counts in certain key states favored Republicans, those counts changed over time – sometimes late into the night and resulting in Democratic wins. The shifts are normal and reflect the vote counting process, but Republicans used the pattern of vote reporting to make baseless claims about malfeasance.
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During the same answer, Bolduc also seemed to validate an earlier segment of Kuhner’s radio show where both a caller and the host said the 2020 election was stolen. “You are right, they stole it in the last election. There is no question about it. No question,” the radio host said shortly before bringing the New Hampshire Senate candidate on the show.
Bolduc said during his answer that he “heard your previous segment, and it’s absolutely true.”
Hassan responded to Bolduc’s comments by saying, “New Hampshire has a long history of conducting free and fairly administered elections.”
She added that Bolduc’s suggestions “undermine our democracy and jeopardize our freedom.”
Bolduc’s struggle with his election denial has hampered his general election campaign, giving fodder to Democrats, worrying some moderate Republicans who have said they can’t vote for an election denier and annoying some of the Republican base who were animated by Bolduc’s steadfastness on the issue.
“I signed a letter with 120 other generals and admirals saying Trump won the election, and damn it, I stand by [it],” Bolduc said during a mid-August debate.
A few days after his post-primary shift, however, Bolduc said on a podcast that, “The narrative that the election was stolen, it does not fly up here in New Hampshire for whatever reason” but “what does fly… is that there was significant fraud and it needs to be fixed.”
Democrats have seized on this waffling.
“Don Bolduc has spent the entire campaign touting the Big Lie, and he can’t hide from that record,” Hassan campaign spokesman Kevin Donohoe said after Bolduc’s post-primary shift. “A word salad on Fox will not erase his record of election denial.”
Bolduc’s campaign did not immediately respond to CNN’s questions about his recent comments.