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Election Deniers in Senate Races Switch to Appeal to Voters in the Middle

In a Republican debate just before the primary on September 13, Mr. Bolduc, a retired Army Brigadier General, stated unequivocally: “I signed a letter with 120 other generals and admirals saying that Trump won the election and, damn it, I stand by my letter.” He added for good measure: “I’m not changing horses, baby. That’s all.”


How Times reporters cover politics. We trust our journalists to be independent observers. So while Times staff members can vote, they’re not allowed to endorse or campaign for political candidates or causes. This includes participating in marches or rallies in support of a movement or giving money or raising money for any political candidate or electoral cause.

With his nomination assured, Bolduc on September 15 left that horse in a ditch. “I’ve done a lot of research on this,” said on Fox News after being shown a clip of his pledge to stay the course over denying the election, “and I’ve spent the last two weeks talking to Granite Staters across the state from all parties, and I’ve come to the conclusion, and I want to be definite on this: the election was not stolen.”

When a Fox stunner, Dana Perino, pointed out Bolduc’s uncompromising remarks before the primary, she shrugged: “You know, live and learn, right?”

Shifts to the center in general elections are nothing new, but few would argue that Bolduc, a newcomer to politics whose authenticity was his calling card, executed his without a hitch.

“Don spent the last three years engaging with primary voters, about a third to a half who believed the whole stolen election thing, or at least thought something was fishy,” Cullen said. “When you spend so much time with people who feel that way, it’s easy to think that everyone felt that way.”

Then he won the primary and realized it just wasn’t like that, Cullen added.

Bolduc’s post-primary turnaround created a new problem: even as he sought to woo a general election electorate, he now also needed to patch things up with his base. Supporters posted a Facebook message they said Mr. Bolduc had sent them explaining his turn. Yes, he wrote without evidence, voter fraud in 2020 abounded: in mail-in ballots, voting machines, and mailbox stuffing. But, he added: “Biden was put into the presidency through a constitutional process… yes.”

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