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Three takeaways from the New Hampshire Senate final debate



CNN

Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan, who is vying to retain her seat in New Hampshire next week, was quick to criticize President Joe Biden’s administration during a debate with Republican challenger Don Bolduc on Wednesday – notably distancing herself administration’s handling of the US withdrawal. from Afghanistan.

The New Hampshire Senate seat is critical for Democrats if the party is to retain its slim Senate majority.

Hassan, a former governor, is widely seen as the frontrunner in a state that backed Biden by seven points in 2020, and she has a huge fundraising advantage over Bolduc. But with tailwinds blowing in the direction of Republicans and the economy top of mind for voters, there are signs that this race is still competitive. Republicans need a one-seat net gain to topple the evenly divided chamber, where Vice President Kamala Harris has the deciding vote.

The Majority Senate PAC, the top Democratic super PAC committed to Senate races, just added $600,000 to its ad bookings for the past week in the New Hampshire race. The Democratic spending comes after the GOP super PAC, the Senate Leadership Fund, pulled out of the race in mid-October amid concerns over Bolduc’s eligibility and the need to divert resources to higher priority states.

In their third and final debate on Wednesday, Hassan said she supported an investigation “to hold the administration accountable” for the Afghanistan pullout, while Bolduc said the United States under Biden had “no diplomatic leadership; no political leadership” in international affairs following the withdrawal. They also touched on other issues like the 2020 elections, abortion and the border.

Here are three takeaways from their debate:

Hassan attempted to highlight Bolduc’s history of embracing and repeating former President Donald Trump’s lies about widespread fraud in the 2020 election.

She said the retired army brigadier spent a year ‘fueling the big lie, saying he was robbed’.

“He then started casting doubt on the 2022 election, now saying there will be ballots thrown in the middle of the night,” she said.

Bolduc, however, tried to avoid revisiting or repeating his false claims about voter fraud, accusing Hassan of “cleaning up” and saying that “we need to focus on the future.”

He also criticized the debate moderators, calling the issue of election denial a softball.

“That’s exactly what she needed, isn’t it, because she can’t hit a fastball,” he said.

Their debate opened with a disagreement over the right to abortion, an issue that had also played a prominent role in their previous confrontations.

Bolduc – who earlier in the campaign said Granite Staters should “welcome” the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in June – said he would vote against any federal abortion ban.

“I promised all Granite Staters that I would not vote for any federal abortion legislation. This is a state rights issue,” Bolduc said.

Hassan said Bolduc was trying to “hide his record” and cover up comments he made earlier in the race.

She did not answer directly when asked whether she would support any restrictions on the right to abortion or be willing to find a compromise on the issue.

“It is a fundamental right of a woman to make her own health care decisions and her own health and safety. And I believe those decisions should be made by a woman and her doctor,” Hassan said.

The Democratic senator said Bolduc would “yes for a national abortion ban.”

“It’s an absolute lie,” retorted Bolduc.

Hassan sought to demonstrate her bipartisan good faith in a discussion of slowing the flow of fentanyl into the United States, saying she “stands with President Trump as he signs a bill that gives our patrol border a better technology” to detect the synthetic opioid in 2018.

She said she supported “much stronger security at our border, including personnel, including state-of-the-art technology.”

Bolduc, meanwhile, said the United States left its border with Mexico “wide open” for drugs and human trafficking.

“It’s a problem that the Biden administration and Maggie Hassan created,” he said.

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