CONCORD, NH — A Republican U.S. Senate candidate in New Hampshire was arrested for drunken driving in the 1990s when he was living in Colorado.
According to Colorado court documents, Bryant "Corky" Messner, one of four Republicans vying for the GOP nomination to face off against incumbent U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, was arrested on Oct. 28, 1995, on driving under the influence and reckless driving charges as well as a failure to drive within marked lanes violation in Boulder, CO.
Specific information, such as details of the incident and blood alcohol level, are not available about the case which was heard in the Boulder County Court. The incident occurred at around 7:20 at night. During a period of court appearances across nine months, Messner appeared to be fighting the charge with pretrial conferences, status continuing by parties, and other motions. Messner, however, later pleaded guilty to a lesser charge on June 18, 1996, received a 12-month suspended sentence and fines.
Messner, in a statement, said the incident was a mistake but one he learned from.
"Twenty-five years ago, I made a mistake, one that I learned a valuable lesson from," he said. "Nothing like that has ever happened again, and in the end, it was a reckless driving matter. I am a firm believer that none of us are perfect, but all of us can and should learn from our mistakes."
About 11 years later, on Oct. 12, 2007, Messner was cited for a license plate violation on a vehicle, offered a guilty disposition on Dec. 12, 2007, and paid a fine, according to a court document.
The revelation of the DUI came to light due to the bitter rivalry between Messner and Don Bolduc, a former general and another Republican running in the primary.
Don Bolduc's son, Zach Bolduc, made the accusation on Facebook that Messner was arrested for "aggravated DUI" in Colorado while his dad was serving in the military overseas. He made the comments while defending his father saying he supported both the 1st and 2nd Amendments as well as President Donald Trump.
"I wonder are these just lies and speculation like the ones he’s spreading about my father or is it true??," the younger Bolduc wrote. "Because last time I checked, my father has led men and women to fight for our constitution, country, and way of life. Not breaking the very laws we all abide by as citizens. Just food for thought."
Messner, a veteran and attorney, lives in Wolfeboro, at his former vacation home, and now home, where he voted in 2018, but has been attacked by both Republicans and Democrats for just moving to the state from Colorado to run for the Senate seat.
Democrats, who call him "Colorado Corky," accused the candidate of launching his race from Denver, where he filed exploratory committee paperwork in May of last year. While it is not a requirement to live in a state before running for the U.S. Senate — it is only a requirement to reside in the state after the time of the election — it is frowned upon, and candidates can get caught up with a "carpetbagger" label.
But Messner's deep pockets as a corporate attorney in Colorado and ability to spend his own money on the race scared off other candidates, like former House Speaker Bill O'Brien, who ultimately endorsed Messner, and Corey Lewandowski, too. The Messner campaign is currently on the air with cable ads that also tout the reelection of Trump and Gov. Chris Sununu.
Another part of the rivalry was occurred back in April when an ally of the Messner campaign posted a tweet about a Bolduc flag being placed at an anti-lockdown rally outside of the Statehouse — a prank and obvious attempt to create a wedge between Bolduc and other Republicans. The Bolduc campaign denied that it was their sign, saying they didn't have those types of signs, and denounced the prank.
Josh McElveen, a spokesperson for the Bolduc campaign, did not reply to an email before publication of this story.
The intensity between Messner and Bolduc has only gotten worse since the Republican National Committee and Trump jumped into the primary process — usually a no-no for Republicans. Trump and the RNC have backed Messner; Bolduc called the endorsements "a form of election rigging," according to press reports.
Two other candidates are running for the Republican nomination: Gerard Beloin and Andy Martin.
In an email, Martin said there was "a lot we do not know about the mysterious Colorado lawyer who has popped up in the Granite State and proclaimed himself a Senate candidate" and voters deserved to know the truth.
"I think Mr. 'Colorado' Messner a/k/a Porky Messner, owes the New Hampshire GOP a full explanation concerning his DUI and whether he has a drinking problem that would prevent him from being an effective Senator," Martin said. "GOP primary voters deserve the truth, not a man of mystery."
Martin, in a recent commentary piece, said the spat between the two and the Trump endorsement made Bolduc "a dead man walking" but might open up a lane for an outsider.
Also attempting to gain ballot access in the race is Libertarian Justin O'Donnell. The Libertarians are trying to access a signature waiver for petitions due to the new coronavirus pandemic.
Shaheen also has two challengers, Tom Alciere and Paul Krautmann, but is expected to win her primary.
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