Two days after winning the New Hampshire Republican Senate nomination, Don Bolduc has already done a complete flip-flop on whether the 2020 presidential election was stolen: Just weeks after repeating the lie that former President Donald Trump was the real winner, he said Thursday that President Joe Biden is "the legitimate president of this country."
In an appearance on Fox News, the retired Army brigadier general was asked about his earlier insistence that President Joe Biden was not legitimately elected, and was shown footage of his comments during a candidates debate on Aug. 14: "I signed a letter with 120 other generals and admirals saying that Trump won the election and damn it, I stand by my letter."
Bolduc responded by claiming that he had recently become convinced that Trump lost.
"So, you know, we, you know, live and learn, right? And I've done a lot of research on this and I've spent the past couple of weeks talking to Granite Staters all over the state, from, you know, every party. And I've come to the conclusion, and I want to be definitive on this: The election was not stolen," he claimed.
Bolduc then baselessly asserted that there had been fraud in the election, then acknowledged, "But elections have consequences, and unfortunately, President Biden is the legitimate president of this country."
The far-right Bolduc narrowly won Tuesday's primary to face first-term Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan, despite concerns on the part of state and national Republicans that he would be too extreme to win a general election.
Bolduc had spent the past 16 months repeatedly pushing conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and falsely claiming that Biden was not the real winner.
The letter Bolduc signed in May 2021 also said that the Biden administration had "launched a full-blown assault on our Constitutional rights in a dictatorial manner, bypassing the Congress, with more than 50 Executive Orders quickly signed, many reversing the previous Administration's effective policies and regulations asserting that the election had been stolen."
Bolduc repeated the accusations in the days following the publication of the letter, tweeting the next day: "I stand by what is written in the letter. The truth in today's world can make people uncomfortable, but that should not stop anyone from speaking their truth."
"I signed that letter because I thought there was a tremendous amount of fraud," he told the New Yorker a month later. "My initial perspective was from New Hampshire, right? We've had a significant amount of fraud here. Our governor is in denial, in large part because he benefits from it, and so do all the federal Democratic incumbents. They all benefitted from it. Statistically, they won by margins that were mathematically impossible and defied common sense."
Despite Bolduc's claims before the primary and now, there has been no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election either in New Hampshire or nationally. Biden won the national popular vote by more than 7 million votes and won the Electoral College 306-232.
In a November 2021 interview published in the New Hampshire Business Review, then-Secretary of State Bill Gardner, who served in the office from 1976 to 2022 with bipartisan backing, said, "I don't have one example to give you where a person won an election in this state who should not have won it."
The same story noted that Bolduc was unable to point to any evidence-based specific examples of fraud in the state. Instead, he speculated, "It's clear to me with same-day voter registration, with college student registration, with the voting machines, that there was fraud."
A Bolduc campaign spokesperson did not immediately respond to an inquiry from the American Independent Foundation for this story.
Fox News host Bill Hemmer pressed Bolduc during the interview on Thursday, telling him, "This appears to be quite a change" and asking whether he had discussed the matter with former Vice President Mike Pence the previous day during a campaign event.
Bolduc said he hadn't, and added: "We all have time to make up for mistakes or for things that we've said that aren't accurate. And that's part of learning, that's part of listening. ... If we continue to reinforce failure, we're never going to move forward. If we can't accept in people fallibility and mistakes, we're never going to be able to move forward. ... That's what I stand for, and that's what Sen. Hassan does not stand for."
In a press release on Thursday, Hassan campaign spokesperson Kevin Donohoe said, "Don Bolduc has spent the entire campaign touting the Big Lie, and he can't hide from that record. He has even said that he supports overturning the results of the 2024 election if it doesn't go his way. A word salad on Fox will not erase his record of election denial."
Reprinted with permission from American Independent.