Across the country, candidates who support Donald Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election are running for office, promising to replace fellow-Republicans who went along with certifying last year’s results. Republicans are favored to take back both houses of Congress in 2022 and tighten their grip on state houses, raising urgent questions about whether the Party, which largely proved unwilling to support Donald Trump’s push to overturn the election last year, might be more amenable to doing so in 2024.
One of those candidates is Don Bolduc, a retired Army general and the only Republican who has declared his candidacy for next year’s U.S. Senate race in New Hampshire against the Democratic incumbent, Maggie Hassan. Establishment Republicans in Washington are hoping that New Hampshire’s governor, Chris Sununu, will also challenge Hassan, in part because Bolduc has firmly attached himself to Trump, praising the former President frequently and signing a letter with other former military leaders claiming election fraud. Trump has not yet endorsed a candidate in the race, but he recently released a statement praising Bolduc’s attacks on General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Trump and Biden.
Bolduc’s hard right turn follows a storied career in the military, during which he served as a Green Beret in Afghanistan and commanded Special Operations Forces in Africa. After multiple combat deployments, Bolduc reported that he suffered from P.T.S.D. and a traumatic brain injury, leading him to undergo years of treatment; he became an advocate for more understanding of soldiers and veterans with mental-health-related issues. I recently spoke with Bolduc by phone about his military career and his decision to run for Senate. I wanted to understand just how far the next crop of conservative candidates might go in their loyalty to Trump. During our conversation, which has been edited for length and clarity, we also discussed the events of January 6th, his recent conversation with the former President, and his vision for the future of the Republican Party. [Continue reading…]