CONCORD — The high-pitched battle to win over conservative hearts and minds in a Republican primary for the U.S. Senate shifted on Tuesday with retired Brig. Gen. Don Bolduc of Stratham landing two notable names, Karen Testerman and Fred Doucette.
Running against a seasoned political figure like former House Speaker Bill O’Brien of Nashua, Bolduc as a first-time candidate for any office needs to recruit and win over well-known activists who can help plead his case heading into the 2020 campaign.
On Tuesday, Bolduc landed a past GOP candidate for governor and someone who once ran Cornerstone New Hampshire, now one of the strongest socially conservative groups in the state.
“General Don Bolduc has fought for American values his entire life. He is a man of integrity who is deeply committed to his family and to all of the people of New Hampshire, where he was born and raised,” Karen Testerman said in a statement.
“I know he will be a tireless champion of conservative principles in the US Senate and he will shake up Washington, DC.”
Testerman said after speaking with Bolduc she became convinced he’s a true conservative.
“The general will not back down when it comes to securing the border, strengthening our national security, protecting life, defending the Second Amendment or caring for our veterans. He is the conservative who can win this election and retire Jeanne Shaheen. I enthusiastically endorse the general’s campaign for US Senate,” Testerman said.
The move comes a day after Bolduc won over another activist, a state legislator who was a co-chairman of Donald Trump’s successful presidential primary campaign in New Hampshire.
“I proudly stood with the Trump family at the base of the escalator when President Trump announced his historic campaign for President. I served as a co-chair for President Trump’s campaign in New Hampshire, delivering what was believed to be an impossible victory in the first-in-the-nation primary. Not a lot of people beyond me gave him a chance — but I knew he was a fighter and a winner,” said Fred Doucette of Salem.
“It’s the same reason I know that General Bolduc will take the fight to Jeanne Shaheen — and he will win in November. He has always put service above self — he doesn’t give a damn about politics or what the swamp will want — and that’s why I am endorsing the general’s campaign.”
Doucette is an assistant floor leader in the House who serves on the Ways and Means Committee of the New Hampshire House.
O’Brien also has some talented individuals charting his campaign, with Brent Littlefield signing on as his campaign consultant and State Rep. David Bates, R-Windham, agreeing to serve as campaign manager.
In 2016, Littlefield was the architect of Frank Edelblut’s underdog campaign for governor; Edelblut was a little-known state representative from Wilton who nearly upset Chris Sununu and went on to become the state’s commissioner of education.
Some other name conservatives that O’Brien has attracted to his campaign include former Executive Councilor Dave Wheeler of Milford, State Sen. John Reagan, R-Deerfield, and dozens of past and present members of the New Hampshire House.
Last week, Denver, Colo., trial lawyer Bryant “Corky” Messner filed his exploratory committee with the Federal Elections Commission to seek the GOP nomination for Senate.
Messner now lives in Wolfeboro and, if he runs, is expected to be able to contribute several million dollars of his own fortune to the campaign, according to sources close to Messner.