NH Primary Source: Former Sen. Bob Smith endorses Don Bolduc in Senate race

John Distaso/WMUR

SMITH ENDORSES BOLDUC. Former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith has taken sides in this year’s Republican Senate primary – endorsing retired Brig. Gen. Donald Bolduc.

Smith, a staunch conservative who was a senator for two terms during the 1990s, praised Bolduc and also criticized Bolduc’s primary competitor, Bryant “Corky” Messner – alluding to Messner’s many years as a resident of Colorado.

“Don Bolduc has proven himself to be the rarest of public servants,” Smith said. “He is an authentic American hero and someone I’m honored to support.

“I know he will bring the exact brand of leadership we need in Washington at a critical time,” Smith said. “The socialist wolf is on our doorstep, and the last thing we need are faux republicans from the Rocky Mountains representing New Hampshire’s interests. Don Bolduc’s record speaks for itself. He’s mission oriented and more importantly, he knows what’s at stake.”

Michael Biundo, a senior adviser to the Messner campaign, fired back by pointing out that Smith spent several years as a Floridian and ran for the Senate from that state – unsuccessfully – in 2004 and 2010.

“I find it hypocritical that a guy who ran for Senate twice from his home in Florida, and who endorsed John Kerry over George W. Bush, is hurling attacks on behalf of a desperate campaign,” Biundo said. “It says a lot about the state of the race.”

While serving as senator, Smith left the Republican Party for several years in 1999, and then returned and ran for reelection as a Republican. He lost the 2002 GOP Senate primary to John E. Sununu, brother of the current governor.

Two years later, Smith endorsed Democrat Kerry over then-President George W. Bush.

He also made two brief longshot bids for president — one as an independent and one as a member of the U.S. Taxpayers Party.

After returning from Florida, Smith ran again for the US. Senate from New Hampshire in 2014, losing in a primary to former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown.

The winner of the September GOP primary between Bolduc and Messner will face Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in the year’s general election. She is running for a third term.

The Senate race is the second GOP primary this week in which Smith made an endorsement. New Hampshire Primary Source reported Thursday that Smith is backing former Trump administration official Matt Mowers in the Republican 1st District U.S. House primary.

Smith represented the 1st Congressional District in the 1980s before being elected to the Senate.

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