Valley News Correspondent
Published: 6/24/2019 10:10:09 PM
Modified: 6/24/2019 10:10:05 PM

CONCORD — Saying he’s “ticked off” at the partisan sniping in our nation’s capital, retired Brigadier Gen. Don Bolduc announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate on Monday.

“Why can’t the people in Washington, D.C. get it right? Well, because they’re the wrong people,” the 57-year-old Bolduc said as he kicked off his 2020 Republican challenge to U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., at VFW Post 1631 in Concord.

The Laconia native, who moved to Stratham after serving more than three decades in the U.S. Army, criticized Shaheen, who has served two terms in the Senate.

“I want everyone to understand that I respect Sen. Jeanne Shaheen for her decades in the political arena but she has been part of the failed leadership in Congress and it is time for a change,” Bolduc said.

Railing against Washington with a well-used playbook of being an outsider, saying after more than three decades in the U.S. Army, “I don’t give a damn about politics.”

And he blamed “politics and failed leadership in Congress” for preventing solutions to combat the opioid crisis, standing in the way of securing the nation’s border and national security, hurting working class families and seniors, and “letting our veterans down.”

Bolduc also joined calls for a full service VA medical center in New Hampshire.

“We owe it to them,” he said. “They have earned it”

While he called for “people down there on both sides” to “come together and work together,” Bolduc took a swipe at the Democrats.

“If you think in the air-conditioned halls of Congress I’m going to back down from loud-mouthed Democrats trying to tell me what to do, you are wrong,” he said. And he made clear in an interview that he supports Republican President Donald Trump.

“The President of the United States I fully support,” he said. “Now, I don’t hang on every word the president says but the question we should asking is how we should be supporting the president to make him successful because if he’s successful, America’s successful.”

And he said if elected, he would “help the president be successful with the programs he wants to put in place and the things that he wants to do.”

Bolduc also embraced Trump’s call for a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, saying “the wall is a part of the overall border security issue. There are many other things. Infrastructure, a shortage of our border patrol folks. Technology. All of those things, combined with a wall, will effectively secure our borders.”

Bolduc becomes the first Republican to formally announce a Senate bid. But he won’t have the field to himself for very long. Former New Hampshire House Speaker Bill O’Brien said that he will have a “fairly big announcement on July 23.”

O’Brien noted that he’s “quite happy with all the support I’m getting” as he moves towards a decision. Asked about Buldoc, O’Brien said “I welcome his participation.”

But the conservative O’Brien, in apparently jabbing at Bolduc, touted his “proven record” as compared to an “aspirational record.”

Bolduc vowed not to go negative.

“One thing I will not do is engage in the politics of personal destruction. I am a fair and respectful man. I will not go down that road,” he said. “Others will attack me. They’ll spend millions trying to figure out every which way they can come out me. Fine. Because that means their back’s up against the wall.”

Shaheen announced her re-election in January. Longtime New Hampshire Democratic Party chair Ray Buckley took aim at Bolduc, O’Brien and attorney Bryant “Corky” Messner, who’s also seriously considering a Republican Senate bid.

“There is going to be an intense Republican primary between three candidates who would rubber-stamp Donald Trump’s agenda to end health care for tens of thousands of Granite Staters and rip away protections for patients with pre-existing conditions,” Buckley said.

And he argued that “none of them can be counted on to stand up for New Hampshire. In sharp contrast, Granite Staters know and trust Jeanne Shaheen because she has a consistent record of putting New Hampshire first.”

Bolduc and his wife Sharon, who have three sons, also have a service dog, Victor, that was at the announcement. Bolduc has received five Bronze Star medals and two Purple Hearts, and the couple have talked frequently about the importance of removing any stigma for veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health problems.


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