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NEWFIELDS, N.H. – Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire didn’t wait long to target her Republican challenger in November’s midterm election over the combustible issue of abortion.
Hours after retired Army Gen. Don Bolduc narrowly captured the GOP Senate nomination in the key general election battleground state — one of a handful of Senate races that will likely determine if the Republicans win back the chamber’s majority — Hassan’s campaign launched a new statewide television commercial charging that “Don Bolduc and anti-choice Republicans are taking away your personal freedom.”
“If Don Bolduc and Congressional Republicans take control of the U.S. Senate they would push for a nationwide ban on abortion — a ban with no exceptions,” the narrator in the ad claims.
But Bolduc says that he would not support a proposal, unveiled on Tuesday by Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, to implement a 15-week federal abortion ban.
“No, I’m not going to support it because it makes no sense. The Supreme Court has already decided that this is a state issue. The states have it. That’s where it needs to be. Women on both sides of the issue will getter a better voice at the state level,” Bolduc told Fox News Digital in an interview after declaring his primary victory.
And Bolduc argued that on the issue of abortion, Hassan is “out of synch with Granite States. She’s the problem, not me.”
New Hampshire Republican U.S. Senate candidate Don Bolduc smiles during a primary night campaign gathering, Tuesday Sept. 13, 2022, in Hampton, N.H. (AP Photo/Reba Saldanha)
Hassan, in a call with reporters on Wednesday afternoon, told Fox News that what Bolduc “is now saying is inconsistent with what he’s been saying for years. He has said he would vote for anti-choice legislation in Washington.”
The ad from Hassan is her second to specifically address abortion. Her campaign launched a TV commercial in late June in the wake of the blockbuster move by the Supreme Court’s conservative majority to upend the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling and send the issue of legalized abortion back to the states.
Hassan — a former New Hampshire governor and first-term senator whom Republicans view as vulnerable due to her lackluster poll numbers — supports Democratic legislation that would safeguard abortions, and doesn’t include any legislative limits on terminating a pregnancy. The senator has repeatedly demurred when asked by reporters if she would back any specific limits on legalized abortion.
Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan, after voting on primary day in New Hampshire, in Newfields, N.H. on Sept. 13, 2022 (Fox News)
Democratic candidates, committees, and allied groups have spent big bucks this summer to target Republicans abortion positions, which polling indicates has increased in significance in the minds of voters since the Supreme Court decision.
At the start of the summer, Republicans were energized as they pushed to regain the House and Senate majorities, enjoying historical headwinds (the party that wins the White House traditionally suffers setbacks in the ensuing midterm elections) as well as a favorable political climate fueled by skyrocketing gas prices, record inflation, soaring crime, and parents’ discontent with their children’s schools following pandemic shutdowns. The campaign conditions, capped off by President Biden’s cratering poll numbers, put the Democrats on the defensive.
But with Democrats energized following a string of ballot box successes this summer in the wake of the high court abortion ruling — in addition to the summer-long easing of gas prices, a string of major legislative victories for Democrats in Congress, and the president’s rising (but still underwater) approval ratings — what once seemed like a GOP electoral tidal wave in November has been dramatically downsized by political handicappers.
Paul Steinhauser is a politics reporter based in New Hampshire.