Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 11:09 am
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is one of two independents in the Senate. Now, the self-described socialist says he may run for president.
Sanders is aligned with Senate Democrats, but he has spoken lately of a problem with the Democratic coalition that elected President Obama. He says working-class white voters have abandoned Democrats in large numbers. The party, he says, has "not made it clear that they are prepared to stand with the working-class people of this country, take on the big money interests."
Texas Governor Rick Perry’s itinerary -- meetings with core Republican activists, stops at colleges, and a speech at an event celebrating the anniversary of the founding of the U.S. Marine Corps – was very much that of a candidate.
In his remarks at the Marine event, Perry cited Russia, Iran, and ISIS, as reasons why the U.S. cannot afford a foreign policy, that is, as he put it, “lacking in clarity.”
A Republican wave may have swept across the country Tuesday night, but the red tide hit a granite breakwater in New Hampshire. Democrats here held three of four seats at the top of the ticket. Strategists are looking closely at what made the difference for Democrats here, and for lessons that can be taken forward.
This election ran against former House Speaker Tip O’Neill’s dictum that “all politics is local”. In this case deep dissatisfaction with President Obama powered the GOP to gains in Congress and the retaking of the Senate majority.
Democrats Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan buck national Republican trends; state republicans pick up seats in the State House and a look at the strength of the Democratic party's local political machine. NHPR's senior political reporter Josh Rogers discusses some of the key midterm results with Morning Edition host Rick Ganley on this special edition of On the Political Front.
The polls had predicted this race would be tight, and for a time last night, even after media outlets had declared Jeanne Shaheen the winner, Scott Brown briefly held a slim lead. But by nights end, it was Shaheen and her backers savoring a win in a contest party leaders here and in Washington wanted dearly.
“Tonight, tonight, the people of NH chose to put NH first.”
Democrat Maggie Hassan defeated Republican Walt Havenstein to claim a second term as governor. Despite a solid showing by Havenstein it was one of the first state races to be called last night.
Standing before her supporters in Manchester, Hassan cited familiar priorities and stressed that much work remains to be done.
“Together we will make it easier for our families to get ahead, by continuing our healthcare expansion, by holding down the cost of higher education, and by restoring or increasing the minimum wage in New Hampshire,” she said.
Governors in New Hampshire are rarely tossed after a single term, but this race ended up being tougher than expected. Walt Havenstein started a thirty point underdog, but the race became increasingly closer as the season progressed.
“To go from a standing start – 7 percent name recognition and Judy didn’t know who they were – to bringing this race to a competitive finish is an incredible accomplishment,” remembered Havenstein as he conceded defeat, “and you should all be proud of what you have done.”
Havenstein, who led two defense contracting firms, including BAE systems, dropped more than $2 million dollars of his own money into this race, but even so top Republicans knew Havenstein faced long odds.
“This contest was a little bit David and Goliath as I think everybody knows,” said State Senator Jeb Bradley, “Our David, Walt Havenstein fought the fight of his life, and came very close tonight,”
Democratic Congresswoman Anne Kuster won a second term last night, handily beating Republican challenger Marilinda Garcia in New Hampshire’s Second Congressional District race. With a margin off 55 to 45 percent, with 88 percent of the vote counted, Kuster’s victory was the most lopsided of the contests at the top of the ballot.
Even before Garcia called her to concede, Kuster took the stage at her Concord headquarters to declare victory. New Hampshire, she told her supporters, had taught the nation a lesson:
Former state Rep. Kevin Avard upset Democrat incumbent Sen. Peggy Gilmour on Tuesday, adding at least one seat to the Republican’s majority in the New Hampshire Senate.
Avard took 50.8 percent of the 21,335 ballots cast in the District 12 contest to beat Gilmour by 323 votes. The narrow margin gives Republicans a 14-10 majority in the Senate, with at least one race that was too close to call.
In District 7, Democratic incumbent Andrew Hosmer had a lead of about 100 votes over Republican challenger Kathy Lauer-Rago.
The mid-term elections are almost but not quite over - with polls still open in some New Hampshire communities. This hour on The Exchange, as we wait for results to come in, we’re reflecting back on some of the major themes at play in 2014.
Here are some of the important facts about today's election in New Hampshire. You can also read NHPR's reporting on the candidates and find all of our election coverage and resources right here.
RACES TO WATCH
U.S. Senate: Incumbent Democrat Jeanne Shaheen is vying for a second term. She's up against Scott Brown, the former U.S. Senator from Massachusetts who is trying to become just the third person to represent two states in the Senate.
New polls out over the past few days show all four of New Hampshire's major races in the state to be too close to call.
That might prompt us to believe that anything could happen tomorrow, but as poll watchers will tell you, any single poll is just that: a single poll.
NHPR's Brady Carlson spoke with Harry Enten, a senior political writer with FiveThirtyEight -- the politics blog that introduced many politcal watchers to predictive elections models -- about just that.
Hoping to retain the GOP’s slim majority in the state Senate, if not build on it, the New Hampshire Republican State Committee has spent tens of thousands of dollars on an advertising push over the final weeks of the campaign.
The party has focused its spending on a handful of races that could determine who takes control of the state’s upper chamber, which Republicans now control 13-11.
The NHGOP has poured a total of roughly $72,000 into two rematches from 2012 that Republicans won by the slimmest of margins.
If you are seeking nuance or restraint, you wont find it at a get out the vote rally on the Sunday before a tight election.
Here’s State GOP chairman Jennifer Horn last night in Manchester:
"This is our time. We need to crush it. We need to grab it. We need to run with it, push their heads under over and over again until they cannot breathe anymore, until the elections are over Tuesday night."
Spending on the New Hampshire Senate race cracked the $46 million mark this week to become the most expensive election campaign in Granite State history.
And to the surprise of no one, outside groups have far outspent the candidates: party organizations, political action committees, super PACS and other non-candidate groups have poured $28.7 million into the race, one of a handful of closely watched contests that will determine which party controls the U.S. Senate.
The candidates split on key issues from the start. Asked to identify the greatest threat facing America, Scott brown was unequivocal: radical Islamic Jihadists.
"It's something that’s real, that’s serious. Obviously we have Boko Haram in Africa, we have ISIS and Al- Qaeda elements, still, and their number one goal is to disrupt and dismantle the society as we know it. Senator Shaheen has called what we are discussing fear-mongering. I call it a very rational fear."
Many national pundits say that if any of the Democratic incumbents at the top of New Hampshire’s ticket lose to the GOP, it’s going to be a good night for Republicans everywhere. If not, then an anticipated GOP wave may prove to be less than tidal.
And in New Hampshire, the first measure of any swell may be taken in Nashua: the state’s second largest city is finding prominence on the state’s political charts.
Normally watching TV means checking out a show with an occasional break or two for commercials. Watching TV these days feels more like watching large numbers of political ads with the occasional program thrown in.
And it looks like there will be many more to come.
Dave Levinthal is Senior Political Reporter for the Center For Public Integrity. He joined All Things Considered for another look at campaign ads and who’s paying for them.
2nd Congressional District Democrat Ann McLane Kuster worked to distance herself from President Obama during an appearance Thursday night at the UNH Law School.
Earlier this year, Kuster told NHPR’s Laura Knoy that she considered herself one of the President Obama’s biggest supporters. Thursday night, in a public conversation with Knoy, she cited areas when she disagreed with the president.
She also defended her vote on the farm bill which cut food stamps by more than $8 million.
Republican Scott Brown and Democrat Jeanne Shaheen hit familiar themes on the US senate campaign trail today.
Brown campaigned alongside former Governor John Sununu in Seabrook, while Shaheen stumped at a Manchester tech company.
Scott Brown’s visit to the Seabrook station nuclear plant was off-limits to reporters, but according to his campaign, Brown wanted to underscore the role nuclear power needs to play in US energy policy and Shaheen’s past criticism of Seabrook.