Democrat Sen. Maggie Hassan (Democrat) and Republican Don Bolduc (Republican) argued about abortion on Thursday during the second debate in New Hampshire’s Senate race. The retired Army brigadier general was visibly upset by the attacks he received on the topic.
This debate was more heated than the first. Bolduc accused Hassan, accusing him of “empowering” drug cartels. He said that the Democrat’s votes had “driven (inflation), and that is what we have.” Hassan countered by accusing Bolduc of “singing big oil’s” song and saying that the Republican’s views regarding abortion can “harm women” and “cost them their lives in certain cases.”
Both parties are closely watching the New Hampshire race. Antipathy for Democratic control in Washington made Hassan one of the most vulnerable Senate incumbents. Bolduc won the September primary but was not the first choice of top Republican operatives. Some worry that Bolduc’s more extreme views could have hampered their chances of unseating the New Hampshire Democrat.
Both candidates took every opportunity to attack their opponent in the debate. This was less than two weeks before Election Day.
Bolduc once turned to someone in the crowd who, he claimed, had a mask that accused Bolduc of wanting to ban abortion.
Bolduc stated, “I don’t support, I don’t support a federal ban at the federal level for or against abortion.” Bolduc looked at the audience and said that it was now a state issue. “I support New Hampshire’s law. I support Granite Staters. She lies.”
When asked if he would vote to approve a federal abortion law, he replied, “No, no, no.” And I have also told Mitch McConnell, and Lindsey Graham.” Graham (a Republican senator from South Carolina) recently introduced a federal bill to ban abortion after 15 weeks with some exceptions for incest and when the mother’s life is in danger.
Bolduc was a central argument of Hassan’s against abortion.
“Don Bolduc, anti-choice Republicans take away your freedoms,” stated the narrator of Hassan’s first general elections ad.
Bolduc complained specifically about the ads, saying that he knew what they did. These lies are well-known. Lying about social insurance, lying about everything.”
However, Hassan didn’t back down from his attacks.
Hassan stated that this is about a woman’s fundamental freedoms, her safety, and her health. “Don Bolduc has a long history of extremism in the country.” “The problem with politicians like Don Bolduc defining arbitrary lines regarding these decisions is that they can actually harm women and even cost them their lives in certain cases.”
The broader Senate race was also dominated by voting and election denial. This debate flashpoint was also highlighted.
Bolduc raised concerns about New Hampshire voting when asked about it. He mentioned the possibility of “school buses” loaded with people who aren’t allowed to vote, thousands of people voting without identification, and then not returning to verify their identities.
Bolduc’s statement caused a laugh from someone in the audience, prompting Bolduc to respond, “You can laugh about that, but people here in New Hampshire don’t laugh about it.”
Bolduc stated, “I am claiming this is what Granite Staters tells me.” Bolduc said, “And I am saying that we must respond to that.”
Bolduc responded to a question about his claim that buses were used to transport people. He said that he would verify it. That’s what I just said. He said, “Can you hear me here for a moment.” But later, he added, “I believe it is valid.”
Bolduc’s primary campaign was focused on denial of the results of the 2020 election.
Bolduc stated that he signed a letter along with 120 generals and admirals stating Trump had won the election. Bolduc attempted to retract those comments shortly after the primary. He stated that he had done “a lot of research… and I have come up with the conclusion – and I want to make it definitive – that the election wasn’t stolen.”
Bolduc has not been able to deny that the 2020 election was stolen since then, raising the unsubstantiated possibility that the 2022 election was fraudulent.
Hassan used the exchange as a way to emphasize that back-and-forth.
Hassan stated, “What you just heard is Don Bolduc’s continued attempt to stoke a big lie. He has been traveling around this state for more than a year, stoking that 2020 was stolen.”
She said: “Here’s the thing about the election denier: He is working, as he has been working to hide how extreme he is… Here is why free and fair elections are important, it is because that is how New Hampshire holds us accountable. Don Bolduc can ignore the Granite Staters… because he believes he doesn’t have to accept election results.
Bolduc later accused Hassan, who was a “2016 election denier” during the debate.
Both candidates became visibly frustrated with one another at one point.
Bolduc said that he had never stated that he wanted Social Security to be terminated. Hassan instructed viewers to visit a website where her campaign highlighted several of Bolduc’s positions and noted that Bolduc was seen in videos.
Bolduc intervened, “Those have tampered.”
“Oh my goodness,” Hassan sighed.