RI man charged in ‘disturbance’ after approaching NH Senate candidate Don Bolduc before a debate

New Hampshire’s Republican candidate for US Senate Don Bolduc was the target of a physical altercation prior to Wednesday’s debate against Democratic incumbent Maggie Hassan, his campaign says.

On Thursday, the Goffstown Police Department said a man from Rhode Island is now facing charges as a result of the ‘disturbance.”

Police identified the man as 37-year-old Joseph Hart of Greenville, RI. The arrest preceded a debate at St. Anselm College for the US Senate race featuring Bolduc and Hassan.

“Prior to that debate, dozens of supporters were on hand for both candidates, said police in a statement. “During that time, St. Anselm College instructed a male party that they were no longer welcome on their property.”

“A short time later, a disturbance occurred when Mr. Hart approached Mr. Bolduc who was greeting his supporters,” according to Goffstown Police. “Officers converged on the area and all parties were separated. Following that disturbance, Mr. Hart was taken into custody by the Goffstown Police Department and charged with criminal trespass and disorderly conduct.”

Hart was released on personal recognizance bail and will be arraigned on December 1 at the Goffstown District Court.

“This incident is under investigation,” said Goffstown police.

Bolduc’s campaign released a statement on Wednesday about the incident and alleged that a man tried to hit Bolduc.

“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.

On Wednesday night, a spokesperson for the Hassan campaign blamed the incident on supporters of the Libertarian Party.

“Disgusting behavior,” said Kevin Donohoe from the Hassan campaign in a post to social media. “We saw this same libertarian party activist get aggressive with our campaign volunteers at this debate and the last.”

Wednesday’s debate between Bolduc and Hassan was the third and final debate prior to next Tuesday’s election.

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