Four New Hampshire Republican Senate primary candidates stated their case to be the candidate to take on incumbent Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., in an exclusive debate hosted by Newsmax on Wednesday night.
The state, which holds its primary Sept. 13, represents one of the more unheralded battlegrounds for a Senate seat that could help determine the majority in the midterm elections.
GOP primary candidates Bruce Fenton, retired Army Gen. Don Bolduc, Kevin Smith, and state Sen. Chuck Morse participated in the live debate moderated by Newsmax host John Bachman in the Koonz Theatre at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire.
"I believe what separates me from the other candidates up here is my connection with the Granite Staters," Bolduc said in closing remarks at the debate. "I have been campaigning for two years. I've been in every town and city. Granite Staters are angry. They are hurting.
"And what really perplexes me is the very people that shut us down, the very people that caused all our problems at the local, state and federal level are now standing in front of you asking you for a vote, asking you to elect them or asking you to reelect them," Bolduc continued. "I say, 'Hell no,' to that. They need to be held accountable and responsible for what they have not done — and that is take care of you, and I will do that."
Smith, a former Londonderry town manager, hailed his border security plan, which was endorsed by the U.S. Border Patrol Council.
"This is a very important issue right now for New Hampshire voters because we've seen drugs like fentanyl make their way into communities," he said, adding he intends to be the candidate who can go toe to toe with Hassan in the November general election.
"I've called Maggie Hassan, Maggie hasn't, because Maggie hasn't been representing any of us here in the Granite State," Smith said. "She hasn't done anything to make us energy independent again. She hasn't done anything to stop the out-of-control spending. She hasn't done anything about parental rights and education.
"She hasn't done anything to make our border secure, even though she sits on the Homeland Security Committee. And she hasn't done anything about election integrity in this state, except she did the opposite and tried to federalize our local elections."
Bolduc agreed Hassan has failed to help the people of state, serving as a rubber stamp for Democrats and President Joe Biden in Washington.
"Maggie Hassan is going to do the same old things, the same old ways, and that has been hurting our country," he said. "She has supported Biden 100% of the time and all his policies that are ruining this country.
"Republicans, independent, Democrats, libertarians — whatever you call yourself, it should not matter. The future of our children is at stake here. The future of our grandchildren is at stake here, and she's at fault for 5½ years. She has not done anything to help Granite Staters.
"And I've been around the Granite State in every town and city for two years, and that is the complaint: We can't figure out one thing that she's done for the Granite State."
Fenton hailed himself as the "leave me alone" candidate, politicking for libertarian views, and calling the dollar "a melting ice cube."
"I am going down to Washington, D.C., not because I want power, but because I want to keep those people from having power over you," Fenton said. "I want them out of your lives and out of your wallet and out of your business. That's what I'm running for, and those are the New Hampshire values that I will fight for."
Fenton also made an impassioned plea for a hands-off foreign police, saying no more military support or foreign spending.
"Not one boot on the ground, not $1, not one American life," he said. "I don't understand how we can be having this discussion as Republicans. When are we going to learn? When are we going to learn how many lives do we have to lose?
"I feel horrible for the people who had to go to Afghanistan and fighting that ridiculous war, and I'm sad that they had to do it. I was out there fighting against that war. They lied to the generals and the admirals, just like they lied to me.
"It was a stupid war, and you weren't fighting for America, and you weren't fighting for our Constitution. We were fighting for Dick Cheney and Halliburton. And until we recognize that, we're going to keep making these mistakes. Until we recognize that, we're going to keep making these mistakes, and the trillions of dollars are going to stack up, and the bodies are going to stack up.
"No more military misadventures around the world. No more drone bombings. No more Vietnams. No more Iraqs. No more Afghanistans, and no to Ukraine."
Bolduc professed to be the one candidate in the race who has conducted high-level military briefings with presidents, intelligence chiefs and foreign leaders.
"When I go to Washington, D.C., I'll be able to work with them because I've done it before in Washington, D.C.," Bolduc said. "I'm the only one up here that has done that. It's not theoretical to me. It is something that I have practically done."
Bolduc also stressed returning to the America First foreign policies of former President Donald Trump, who has not made an endorsement in the key battleground race.
"Listen, green energy renewables — that's good stuff. But we need our fossil fuels in order to have green energy," he said. "We cannot divest ourselves from fossil fuels. It is the bread and butter, the heart and soul of our energy independence. And if we don't have it, we're going to be energy-dependent.
"And look what it's done to us: It's made us weak. We are weak. China, Russia, North Korea, Iran are now having their way with us. Our homeland is weak. We are in trouble. And if we don't reverse the energy policies that Biden put in place, that reversed what President Trump had in place, and if we don't get Maggie Hassan out of there, we're gonna be in big trouble."
Morse, a small business owner, shared his platform goal to curb unnecessary spending in Washington.
"Let's get an energy policy that puts America first again," Morse said. "We need to do that right away. And we also missed need to make sure that we stop the spending and the borrowing in Washington. That's what I'd do, if I went to Washington. I would do it the New Hampshire way, which is the way it should be done."
Morse also made a unique call for the Senate to go on the healthcare afforded our military veterans, so they get a firsthand look at what America provides its war heroes.
"You know, one thing we could do is basically tell the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House they're going to go on veterans insurance care," More said. "They're going to have to try it out and see how it works, because that would send a strong message on how we're going to get it fixed."
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Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.
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