Military veteran is first to challenge Shaheen for Senate

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MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) A Republican military veteran on Monday announced his campaign to oust Democrat Jeanne Shaheen from her New Hampshire U.S. Senate seat, which the GOP sees as vulnerable.

Retired Brig. General Don Bolduc made the announcement with an event in Concord, the state capital, and a video emphasizing his military service in the Middle East, which his campaign said includes "10 tours of duty in Afghanistan."

Bolduc, 57, served in the Army for 36 years, according to a campaign biography, and is a decorated military veteran.

Shaheen's seat is seen as a possible Republican pickup in 2020 following her competitive 2014 re-election race and fellow Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan's tight win over an incumbent Republican in 2016.

Republican hopes at winning Shaheen's seat took a blow back in May when the state's leading Republican, Gov. Chris Sununu, opted to run for re-election to the governor's office instead of challenging Shaheen.

Shaheen served as governor of New Hampshire before her 2008 election to the Senate. In 2014, she fended off a close challenge from Republican Scott Brown, who had earlier served as a senator from neighboring Massachusetts.

New Hampshire GOP Chairman Stephen Stepanek said two other Republicans are considering challenging Shaheen, including former New Hampshire House Speaker Bill O'Brien.

The New Hampshire Democratic Party is making a concerted effort to associate Republicans running statewide with President Donald Trump and said in a statement following Bolduc's announcement that a GOP primary to challenge Shaheen will be a contest "between three candidates who would rubber stamp Donald Trump's agenda."

Trump remains popular among Republicans in New Hampshire, where he won the state's Republican presidential primary in 2016. Trump went on to narrowly lose New Hampshire to Democrat Hillary Clinton in the general election.

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