Republican New Hampshire Senate candidate and retired U.S. Army general Don Bolduc was attacked by a protester Wednesday before taking the stage for a debate with Sen. Maggie Hassan (D.), Bolduc's campaign said.
"Prior to the debate, an individual in the crowd gathered outside attempted to punch the general and was quickly apprehended and arrested," a spokesperson for Bolduc's campaign told Boston 25 News.
Police in Goffstown, N.H., where the debate was held at Saint Anselm College, said the assailant was Joseph Hart, a 37-year-old from Rhode Island. Police said that before the attack the college told Hart he was not welcome on the property. After he attacked Bolduc, Hart was "taken into custody ... and charged with criminal trespass and disorderly conduct."
The attack comes as Democrats this week have accused Republicans of fostering a climate of political violence following a break-in and assault against Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's husband Paul Pelosi. The alleged assailant in that case, a Canadian citizen who police say broke into the Pelosis' home with a hammer and zip ties, was in the United States illegally and faces possible deportation.
Kevin Donohoe, a spokesman for Hassan, condemned the attack on Bolduc and said the assailant was a libertarian activist who had run-ins with Hassan's campaign staff.
"Disgusting behavior," Donohoe said. "We saw this same libertarian party activist get aggressive with our campaign volunteers at this debate and the last."
The attempted assault on Bolduc comes as polls show the Republican neck and neck with Hassan days ahead of the midterm election.