Man Charged After Confronting GOP Senate Candidate Before New Hampshire Debate

Lorenz Duchamps
By Lorenz Duchamps
November 4, 2022US News
Man Charged After Confronting GOP Senate Candidate Before New Hampshire Debate
Republican Senate candidate Don Bolduc (L) greets supporters at a town hall event in Laconia, New Hampshire, on Sept. 10, 2022. (Scott Eisen/Getty Images); Joseph Hart (R), of Greenville, Rhode Island, in a booking photo. (Courtesy of New Hampshire Goffstown Police Department)

Authorities in New Hampshire have charged a man for approaching Republican Senate candidate Donald C. Bolduc moments before his Nov. 2 debate against incumbent Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), police say.

Joseph Hart, 37, of Greenville, Rhode Island, was taken into custody and charged with criminal trespass and disorderly conduct following a “disturbance” outside the New Hampshire Institute of Politics late on Nov. 2, the New Hampshire Goffstown Police Department said in a statement on Thursday.

Hart was “processed and released on personal recognizance bail” and is scheduled to be arraigned in early December at the Goffstown District Court, according to police.

Police said the investigation is ongoing.

According to video footage from the incident circulating online, Bolduc was greeting his supporters when Hart approached the candidate while holding a camera. In the clip, it appears he didn’t touch him.

As Hart continued to close in toward Bolduc, reportedly calling him “a war criminal,” the disturbance unfolded as supporters of the GOP nominee rushed to his aid.

“He hit me. He hit me,” Bolduc is heard shouting, although it appears he wasn’t struck by Hart, but by supporters who rushed to the Senate candidate’s aid as Hart continually moved closer toward him while making accusations against him.

Asked about the incident on Thursday, Bolduc said that he doesn’t believe Hart assaulted him.

“I wouldn’t call it an assault, no,” Bolduc told WMUR. “If the police didn’t do their job, it probably would have been an assault, but you can’t speculate.”

Hart, a self-described libertarian and anti-war activist, said in an interview with the Washington Examiner that he has filed a criminal complaint against Bolduc, accusing the retired Army brigadier general running for U.S. Senate of “elbowing” him.

“It’s clear as day that he assaulted me and then incited the police and his supporters that I hit him,” Hart told the publication. “It’s not true. And I want to get him for slander. … Bolduc should be arrested.”

The Army veteran also referred to the attack while responding to a question from a moderator during the Nov. 2 debate, asking what he would do to prevent incidents of political violence in the United States.

“It’s a sign of political problems—Republicans and Democrats—that fuel issues with people that get them to the point where they are just so upset at an individual that they strike out at them. Happened to me outside just before I came in,” Bolduc said, noting that this kind of behavior is wrong and needs to be stopped.

The Senate race in New Hampshire has tightened considerably in the last month. A recent poll conducted by the Saint Anselm College Survey Center showed Bolduc having a one-point lead as the two vie for a key Senate seat.

‘Failed Policies’

During Wednesday’s final debate, Bolduc, who served 10 tours in Afghanistan and was awarded two Purple Hearts, framed Hassan as “a career politician” while pointing to record-high inflation under the administration of President Joe Biden, whom he said Hassan “100 percent supports.”

NTD Photo
Senegalese Chief of Staff Mamadou Sow (C) awards U.S. Gen. Donald C. Bolduc (L) with the officer decoration of the National Order of the Lion during the closing ceremony of the three-week joint military exercise between African, U.S. and European troops, known as Flintlock in Saint Louis, on Feb. 29, 2016. Seyllou/AFP via Getty Images)

“Heating and eating, these are the issues, and she completely avoids that,” Bolduc said. “The first time I heard her use the word inflation was tonight; she doesn’t ever talk about it.”

“She skips all around [inflation] … because she’s caused it, all her votes in the Senate have caused this heating and eating issue that we have retirees going back to work,” he said. “She’s created it with her 100 percent support to Joe Biden’s failed policies.”

Hassan, meanwhile, agreed inflation is hurting New Hampshire families and is straining small businesses as she touted Democrats’ work of passing legislation that will lower costs.

“Look, right now, I have stood up to big pharma and worked to pass legislation that will lower people’s prescription drug costs; my opponent says he wouldn’t have done that,” Hassan said.

Hassan also said she helped to pass the bipartisan infrastructure law Biden signed last year as well as the “CHIPS and Science Act,” allocating $280 billion in funding toward boosting domestic semiconductor manufacturing and various research endeavors.

Sen. Maggie Hassan
U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) speaks at a Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs/Rules and Administration Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 3, 2021. (Shawn Thew/Pool via Getty Images)

While the economy and rising costs that come with inflation such as energy and food were the main talking points of Wednesday’s debate, other takeaways include the border crisis, abortion, and views on alleged fraud in the 2020 presidential election, among several other issues.

Abortion Is ‘State Issue’

The verbal crossfire opened with a divergence on abortion rights, which Democrats have bet on as their winning ticket, vowing to enshrine abortion access into federal law should they secure a majority in both chambers.

Bolduc said he views abortion as an issue to be settled at the state level as he “promised all Granite Staters” that he wouldn’t “vote for any federal legislation that has to do with abortion.”

Hassan, meanwhile, avoided a question by a moderator on whether she’ll support abortion up until birth, saying the decision has to be made by a woman and her doctor.

“This is about a fundamental right of a woman to make her own health care decisions,” Hassan said, side-stepping the moderator’s question while accusing Bolduc of supporting “a nationwide abortion ban.”

“He is a yes vote for a nationwide abortion ban and he’s trying to conceal it,” she claimed, to which Bolduc responded, “That is an absolute lie.”

“[Hassan], once again, hasn’t even answered the question. That was the finest Washington, D.C. career politician non-answer I’ve ever heard,” Bolduc said. “I believe the federal government should stay out of it, and I believe in the state rights and the state law. And that is the end of the discussion.”

ntd newsletter icon
Sign up for NTD Daily
What you need to know, summarized in one email.
Stay informed with accurate news you can trust.
By registering for the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy.