Pints and Politics: 2020 GOP US Senate Debate 8-17-20

Instead of attacking each other, Corky Messner and General Don Bolduc go after Senator Jeanne Shaheen in this lively debate.

In a debate moderated by WKXL’s Chris Ryan, the two Republican candidates for US Senator–Brigadier General Don Bolduc and Bryant “Corky” Messner—squared off within sight of the New Hampshire Capitol outside the Barley House Restaurant. The Republican Party primary will take place on September 8, 2020. The winner of the primary election would then face the Democrat incumbent Senator Jeanne Shaheen on November 3, 2020.

The format of the debate was as follows: two-minute opening remarks; 60 minutes of debate—3 minutes to answer questions from the moderator followed by one minute for rebuttals or follow up questions; and 2 minutes for closing remarks.

Both candidates gave brief descriptions of their backgrounds and explained their reasons for running for office. General Bolduc was born and raised in New Hampshire. He enlisted in the US Army at age eighteen and rose through the ranks to Brigadier General. After 36 years of service, including 10 tours of duty in Afghanistan, five Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts, Don Bolduc retired in 2017. General Bolduc has degrees in criminal justice, sociology, strategic studies, and business technology. Corky Messner was born and raised in a small town in Pennsylvania. He graduated from West Point in 1979 and served as an Army Rangers captain until 1984. Messner moved to New Hampshire about 12 years ago after making his fortune by building up a corporate law firm in Colorado. Both men believe passionately in maintaining American values of independence and economic opportunity. In their opening remarks, Bolduc and Messner were in attack mode, but not of each other. They were focused on the incumbent, Jeanne Shaheen.

Fittingly, the first question was about the November 3rd opponent.

Q #1: “What specifically, in your view, has Senator Shaheen done to warrant her not being reelected, and what would you do differently?
Both Messner and Bolduc characterized Senator Shaheen as being aligned with the “Progressive” wing of the Democratic Party—Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez– and not a moderate. The Republican candidates also believe that she has not fought hard enough for the interests of the Granite State.

The follow up question dealt with a claim by Corky Messner that Senator Shaheen has be come wealthy during her two terms as a Senator from New Hampshire. No specific examples of graft were given, but Corky Messner maintains that Senator Shaheen’s financial statements indicate her wealth has increased dramatically. Both men criticized that her husband’s law firm, Shaheen and Gordon, took out a $3 million PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loan as part of the CARES Act. Since then, the Shaheen and Gordon law firm has donated money to Black Lives Matter and spent money for TV ads during the election season.

Question #2: As negotiators are currently stalled about what to include in the next Coronavirus Stimulus package, what do you think should be in that agreement and what should not be?
General Bolduc took issue with the entire omnibus process. He believes that to much unnecessary spending is put into legislation like this one by small committees. He would prefer if there was discussion by the whole Senate and the whole House of Representatives. Corky Messner pointed out that there is still $1 trillion from the first stimulus package which hasn’t been distributed. Messner also criticized Senator Shaheen for supporting the $3 trillion House appropriation bill which includes money to bail out fiscally mismanaged states like New York and California. Both men support legislation which is specifically targeted and is designed to help small businesses and not big businesses and insiders who know how to work the system. Messner and Bolduc believe that assistance to state and local government should be tied to shortfalls and difficulties which these governments have had since the outbreak of the pandemic.