The New Hampshire Democratic Party is releasing a memo Monday targeting GOP U.S. Senate candidate retired Gen. Don Bolduc just a week before the primary, a sign they may believe he’s the strongest challenger to incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.
The document, which is linked here, is entitled “MEMO: Donald Bolduc’s Many Vulnerabilities.” Among the bullet points:
- Bolduc Is an Anti-Vaxxer
- Bolduc Claimed That Masks “Cause More Problems Than They Solve”
- Bolduc Defended the Confederacy, Offensively Saying Confederate Statues Are “Symbols of Hope”
The oppo dump doc accuses Bolduc of making “extreme” statements during the course of his Senate campaign regarding a variety of topics, from vaccines to Confederate statues to COVID-19. It also attempts to link him to allegedly “far Right” organizations while at the same time highlighting the fact that President Trump and many prominent conservatives have backed his opponent, businessman Corky Messner.
“It’s clear the New Hampshire Democratic Party is waking up to the reality that Don Bolduc is by far the greatest threat to Jeanne Shaheen’s political dynasty they have ever faced,” Bolduc Senior Advisor Josh McElveen told NHJournal. “Don Bolduc is a man of character, integrity, and has had public service running through his veins since he was a Laconia police officer while still in high school. His message is resonating and that is resulting in both grassroots and financial support. Don Bolduc will bring true servant leadership to the people of New Hampshire. We need to get this right.”
The information gathered by the NHDems is largely from media reports and some of the positions they target Bolduc for are common among Republicans. For example, it attacks Bolduc for raising questions about the constitutionality of some of the COVID-19 lockdown actions, which is hardly controversial on the right. And Bolduc’s support for sending federal agents and the National Guard to quell riots in cities like Portland, Ore. is a position with bipartisan support.
What NH political insiders find most interesting is the decision by the Democrats to go after Bolduc in advance of the primary, theoretically giving a boost to millionaire Corky Messner.
“Democrats jumping into the Republican primary is definitely unusual,” one NHGOP insider conceded to NHJournal. “But to jump in and help the weaker candidate….that’s a surprise.”
Democrats point to recent negative stories about Messner’s charitable foundation and a 2006 domestic incident which, sources tell NHJournal, is already impacting the Messner campaign. Meanwhile, Bolduc’s record has largely been ignored.
In fact, based on the most recent St. Anselm College poll, the entire primary is largely being ignored by New Hampshire voters, most likely due to the double-whammy of COVID and Donald Trump on the political conversation. The coronavirus and the Trump campaign, many NH consultants believe, are overshadowing every other race to such a degree that even high-level races like the U.S.Senate primary and Democratic gubernatorial primary are being overlooked.
For example, after weeks of TV and radio ads and mailers across the state, the St. Anselm poll found 50 percent of GOP respondents either hadn’t heard of Messner or didn’t have an opinion of him. That’s not significantly different from Bolduc’s 58 percent no opinion/no name ID number, despite spending far more on media.
In the head to head, Messner has a negligible 31/29 lead over Bolduc, with 37 percent of Republican voters undecided.
NHGOP insiders close to the Messner campaign say he’s well on his way to a solid win in the primary, which makes the Democrats’ decision to dump on Bolduc even more puzzling. Why slow down the under-funded candidate with the lowest name ID in the GOP primary?
“They’re both longshots [against Shaheen], one New Hampshire Republican told NHJournal. “Why help the rich guy who’s tied to Trump? I’d rather run against the broke longshot than the millionaire one.”
Other Republican insiders warned not to overthink this move. “Don’t give the Democrats too much credit. They might just be seeing the wheels wobble a bit on the Messner campaign and want to make sure Bolduc is scuffed up, too, in case he makes it through the primary,” one said.
Polls consistently show Shaheen with a solid lead in the U.S. Senate race, and she reported cash on hand of $8.65 million as of June 30, far more than either Republican in the race.