New Hampshire GOP candidate dodges a punch from protester approaching debate stage

As President Biden made his case for the peril of democracy due to GOP extremism, Republican New Hampshire Senate candidate Don Bolduc dodged a potential assault from a Libertarian activist, bringing into stark relief the administration’s bias against the Republican Party.

“There’s an alarming rise in the number of our people in this country condoning political violence or simply remaining silent, because silence is complicity,” Biden said. “The disturbing rise of voter intimidation, the pernicious tendency to excuse political violence, or at least trying to explain it away — we can’t allow the sentiment to grow.”

But it doesn’t appear that attacks on Republican figures are seen as “disturbing” based on the response to Wednesday’s attack of Bolduc.

Bolduc, 60, was approaching the debate stage, where he was set to tee off against Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan, when Joseph Hart, 37, of Greenville, Rhode Island, barreled into the general, creating an uproar and immediate response from police.

Hart, who was in a group of people that included dozens of supporters for both candidates outside the debate at Saint Anselm College, was told he had to leave the property prior to the incident involving Bolduc, according to reporting by WNUR9.

As Bolduc was greeting his supporters, Hart allegedly approached the candidate and a “disturbance” occurred, resulting in criminal trespass and disorderly conduct charges, according to police.

Free Keene, an anti-government group that believes “government programs create disastrous unintended consequences,” released a statement claiming Hart is a Libertarian activist caught in establishment lies.

“Multiple mainstream media sites are touting the campaign’s claim that Bolduc dodged a punch from Joa (Hart),” the Free Keene website reads. “The campaign and Bolduc himself, are lying. Joa never threw a punch nor did he even try to touch Bolduc. He did approach him and yell at him about being a warmonger, that’s it. Bolduc on the other hand immediately pointed Joa out to police, who then took him into custody as Bolduc yelled, ‘He hit me!’ multiple times.”

Hart, known as Joa on his “Breaking the Flaw” podcast, has 22,500 YouTube followers.

Bolduc, a retired Army brigadier general, was unharmed in the incident and commended police on their quick response.

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

Denying Free Keene’s assertion that he assaulted Hart, Buldoc said he reacted in self-defense.

“No, I didn’t assault anybody,” Bolduc said. “He closed … toward me, I was turning to protect myself and that was it. It was simple as that.”

Bolduc addressed the “disturbance” during the debate, citing divisive politics as the catalyst for situations like his and Paul Pelosi.

“I am really sorry for what happened to the speaker’s husband. Nobody should have that happen to them anywhere in America, but it’s a sign of the times,” Bolduc said. “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. It happened to me outside just before I came in here, right? This is wrong, and it needs to be stopped.”

Bolduc’s campaign reiterated the general’s feelings in a statement to Boston 25.

“As the General said on stage tonight, it’s time to lower the temperature of the political discourse in this country. Prior to the debate, an individual in the crowd gathered outside attempted to punch the General and was quickly apprehended and arrested. We are grateful to the quick response from law enforcement on the scene,” said a Bolduc campaign manager.

Hassan’s camp called the behavior “disgusting” and said their team had issues with Hart, as well.

“We saw this same libertarian party activist get aggressive with our campaign volunteers at this debate and the last,” said Kevin Donohoe.

Hassan responded to the incident on Twitter on Thursday.

“The behavior of the Libertarian Party agitators toward Don Bolduc last night was despicable,” she wrote. “I want to thank the Goffstown Police and St. Anselm College for their commitment to keeping everyone safe.”

Hart was released on his own recognizance with arraignment scheduled for December 1.


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