Republican Senate candidate Don Bolduc greets supporters at a town hall event on September 10, 2022 in Laconia, New Hampshire.
CNN  — 

Alright, stay with me here.

First, Don Bolduc, the Republican nominee for Senate in New Hampshire, said he was pretty sure the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump.

“I signed a letter with 120 other generals and admirals saying that Donald Trump won the election and, damn it, I stand by [it],” Bolduc, a retired Army brigadier general, said at a debate in August. There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.

Then, in September, thanks in no small part to his election stance and support from the Trump wing of the GOP, Bolduc narrowly won the Republican primary.

Just two days later, Bolduc was walking back his position on whether he thought the 2020 election was stolen.

“I’ve done a lot of research on this, and I’ve spent the past couple of weeks talking to Granite Staters all over the state from every party, and I have come to the conclusion – and I want to be definitive on this – the election was not stolen,” he said on Fox News.

Which, wow! Pretty remarkable turnaround!

Then, the latest turn in this story came on Monday at a town hall event.

“I can’t say that it was stolen or not,” Bolduc said, according to the AP, in response to a question from a voter about the 2020 election. “I don’t have enough information.”

But what about the research he had conducted? You know, where he talked to all sorts of people in New Hampshire and came to the conclusion – less than a month ago! – that the election wasn’t stolen?

I am, of course, being sarcastic. But Bolduc’s flip, flop and now flip again on the question of the 2020 election is a telling indicator of just how twisted GOP candidates are getting as they try to do two things at once:

1) Keep the Trump base within the party on their side.

2) Reach out to swing and independent voters in the general election.

Bolduc was, quite clearly, trying to pivot from #1 to #2 with his initial post-primary statement. But his latest hedge suggests that that strategy wasn’t, well, working. And so, he is back to a gray area between an election that was stolen and one that wasn’t.

The Point: Trump has made election denialism a central tenet of the modern Republican Party. Candidates like Bolduc are learning that they shift away from that position at their own political peril.