Veteran politician U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) has backed out of a scheduled debate with her Republican challenger and political newcomer Don Bolduc.
Wendy Hunt, president of the Nashua Chamber of Commerce, told The Epoch Times that Hassan has asked to appear separately on stage for the Oct. 12 debate.
Hunt, who would only communicate with The Epoch Times by email about the change, would not comment further, only saying that Hassan would appear first, followed by Bolduc.
Hunt was quoted by the NH Journal as saying that the Hassan campaign contacted her on Thursday indicating that the U.S. senator would only participate if it were “a stand-alone forum, not a debate.”
Kate Constantini, a com strategist for Bolduc, told The Epoch Times, that Hassan has also insisted that Bolduc not be in the present when she speaks. “He can’t even be in the audience,” said Constantini, “he has to stay in the green room.”
The Hassan campaign did not respond to inquiries by The Epoch Times about the cancellation and Hassan has released no statement about it.
The debate is billed as a luncheon event and has been listed for weeks on the chamber’s calendar. It is part of its candidate series, which includes a scheduled debate on Oct. 18 between New Hampshire Gov. Sununu and his Democrat challenger Tom Sherman and an Oct. 25 debate between Congressman Chris Pappas and his Republican challenger Karoline Leavitt.
The Nashua Chamber of Commerce represents businesses in the second-biggest city north of Boston. Nashua is also the seat of New Hampshire’s most populated county.
Constantini pointed out that so far Hassan hasn’t accepted any of Bolduc’s repeated invitations to debate him. She also pointed out that Hassan hasn’t appeared in any public forum to discuss her candidacy while Bolduc has appeared, according to Constantini, in 34 town hall meetings and other public appearances.
“It’s pretty clear she doesn’t want to be held accountable to voters,” she said.
Out of the Public Eye
Three recent polls have Hassan in a three to eight percent lead over Bolduc. However, Hassan’s own campaign manager Aaron Jacobs admitted in a recent internal memo that polls are “sugar-coated” in favor of Democrats.
Hassan has remained largely out of the public eye, focusing her campaign mostly on legislation she has sponsored or supported including a bill she introduced on Oct. 5 that would provide government-funded legal services to families with a disabled child.
Hassan herself has a son with cerebral palsy. In her 2016 bid, Hassan said her son Ben, who is also nonverbal and wheelchair confined, was the entire reason she decided to become involved in politics.
Hassan has also introduced a number of pro-Veteran bills—especially lately. Call it good timing given Bolduc’s highly-touted platform as a retired Army brigadier general with a lengthy military career, but Hassan has landed support from veterans including a Bronze Star Army veteran who appears in a new campaign ad for Hassan, whose father was also a Bronze star recipient.
Meanwhile, Bolduc continues to score major support from major Republicans, including Mitch McConnell whose super PAC pledged $23 million in advertising dollars in an effort to ensure a shoo-in for Bolduc.
However, he has ruffled some feathers with his staunchly conservative voter base in New Hampshire when he waffled on his once-firm position that the 2020 presidential election was stolen by Democrats.
After winning the Republican primary, Bolduc appeared on FOX TV and completely flipped on the issue calling Biden a “legitimate president” and saying he wanted to be “definitive on this” and that he had “come to the conclusion” that the election was not stolen.
Prior to the primaries, Bolduc touted a letter he signed with some 120 other generals and admirals, declaring that Trump won the election.
“Damn it, I stand by my oath, I’m not switching horses, baby,” said Bolduc in August to a cheering crowd at a public debate hosted by the Government Integrity Project.