Hassan and Bolduc exchange fires in the final showdown after the GOP candidate is attacked and comes to a debate

Former governor and first-term Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire and Republican challenger Don Bolduc took aim at each other in their third and final debate on inflation, abortion, national security, the border crisis, election denial and many other crucial battleground state races , which is among a handful across the country that will likely determine whether the GOP regains the Senate majority.

But before the verbal crossfire on the debate stage, Bolduc — a former Army general who served on ten deployments in the war in Afghanistan — was almost assaulted when he arrived at the debate site at Saint Anselm College’s New Hampshire Institute of Politics on Wednesday evening.

According to the Bolduc campaign, a spectator standing in the crowd outside the debate site punched the former general as he arrived. The campaign says Bolduc was slightly scraped but not injured.

Rick Wiley of the Bolduc campaign tells Fox News that the person who punched the former general appeared to be a libertarian activist.

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Incumbent Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan and Republican Senate candidate from New Hampshire Don Bolduc will face off in the Nov. 8 Granite state election.

Incumbent Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan and Republican Senate candidate from New Hampshire Don Bolduc will face off in the Nov. 8 Granite state election.
(Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

Kevin Donohoe, Hassan campaign communications director, tweeted about the incident, writing: “Disgusting behavior.

Bolduc referred to the altercation near the end of the debate, when he and Hassan discussed the brutal attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosis’s husband at their San Francisco home.

The GOP Senate nominee said: “It is a sign of political trouble. Republicans and Democrats who fuel problems with people that get them to the point where they get so angry with a person that they attack them. Just happened to me outside I came in. Right. This is wrong and must be stopped.”

Bolduc campaign spokeswoman Kate Constantini told Fox News in a statement: “As the General said onstage tonight, it is time to lower the temperature of political discourse in this country. Before the debate, one person in the crowd gathered outside attempted to punch the general and was quickly apprehended and arrested. We are grateful for the quick response from local law enforcement.”

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The former general, who is running for the New Hampshire Senate for the second straight year, has waged a populist campaign this cycle, emphasizing his MAGA Republican and outsider credentials in a crowded and combustible GOP primary. In mid-September, Bolduc narrowly defeated more mainstream Conservative Chuck Morse, the state Senate President who was backed by popular GOP Gov. Chris Sununu, to win the nomination.

And over the past six weeks, Bolduc has slowly but steadily eroded Hassan’s once-high single-digit lead in opinion polls. The latest polls in the race suggest it’s a margin-of-fault contest six days before the election.

The two candidates exchanged fires at the forefront of debate over the flammable abortion issue.

For weeks Hassan’s campaign and allied Democrat groups have shown clips of Bolduc from last year vowing he would never “vote against life” and from June celebrating the Supreme Court’s blockbuster move, the milestone Roe v. Wade ruling that sends the issue of legalized abortion back to the states.

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But Buldoc told Fox News immediately after winning the GOP nomination that if he were in the Senate, he would not support a proposal unveiled earlier this month by Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a 15-week federal ban on abortion implement. because abortion is now a matter of state.

Bolduc reiterated at Wednesday’s debate, “I have promised all Granite Staters that I will not vote for federal legislation related to abortion.

Hassan emphasized that “it is a woman’s fundamental right to make her own decisions about healthcare and her health and safety, and I strongly believe that these decisions must be made by a woman and her doctor.”

Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan after voting on the New Hampshire primary day in Newfields, NH on September 13, 2022.

Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan after voting on the New Hampshire primary day in Newfields, NH on September 13, 2022.
(Fox News)

And the senator accused Bolduc of “voting yes to a nationwide abortion ban and trying to hide his record.”

“That’s an absolute lie,” the GOP challenger fired back, before claiming Hassan “believes in abortion right up to childbirth.”

The senator countered that “he’s really working to hide his extremism from Granite Staters.”

As for inflation, Hassan propagated: “I have opposed big pharmaceutical companies and passed legislation that lowers the cost of prescription drugs. My opponent says he didn’t do that. I have suggested suspending the gas tax until we see a big cut in gas prices. My opponent stands by Big Oil and says he wouldn’t do it either.”

She also showed her support for bipartisan spending bills, which she passed during both the Trump and Biden administrations.

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Bolduc emphasized: “I would not have chosen her. They were unnecessary.”

And citing record inflation, he charged that “all of their votes in the Senate have caused this heating and food problem that we have. retirees going back to work. She made it through her 100 percent support for Joe Biden’s failed policy… She caused these problems for many Granite Staters as they head into the winter when they don’t know how to feed their kids and heat their homes.”

Former Army General Don Bolduc, Republican Senate candidate in New Hampshire, speaks at a New Hampshire GOP unity breakfast September 15, 2022 in Concord, NH

Former Army General Don Bolduc, Republican Senate candidate in New Hampshire, speaks at a New Hampshire GOP unity breakfast September 15, 2022 in Concord, NH
(Fox News)

Hassan responded, claiming that Bolduc was in Big Oil’s pockets, saying “You hear Don Bolduc singing Big Oil’s song.”

Bolduc, who said during the primary campaign that he supports former President Donald Trump’s repeated unproven claims that his 2020 election loss to Biden was due to “massive voter fraud,” quickly reversed course after his nomination win. In a Fox News interview days later, Bolduc said that after speaking to Granite Staters, he “concluded” that the 2020 presidential election “wasn’t stolen.”

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Trump, who remained neutral in the New Hampshire Republican primary, supported Bolduc Monday but criticized him for reversing his views on the 2020 election.

“General Don Bolduc ran a great campaign to become a US Senator from the beautiful state of New Hampshire. He was a strong and proud ‘election denier’, a big reason he won the nomination, but he then disavowed,” Trump wrote on social media.

“He’s since come back, at least on the bus ride, but that’s only a small part of the NH voter fraud. Despite this, Don Bolduc asked for my approval and he received it fully and fully,” added the former President.

In the debate, Hassan argued that Bolduc’s alternate responses to the question of whether the 2020 election was stolen show that he is “an extremist, the most extreme candidate for the US Senate that New Hampshire has seen in modern history, and he keeps trying to hide this from Granite Staters.”

And she argued that “he spent over a year in New Hampshire fomenting the big lie…then he started casting doubt on the 2022 election, saying there will be ballots in the middle of the night.” “

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Given the opportunity to respond to Hassan’s attacks, Bolduc slammed the debate moderators, saying, “Thank you for giving her a softball because that’s exactly what she needed because she can’t hit a fastball.”

And he emphasized that “the bottom line is that we need to focus on the future.”

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