Like a lot of political junkies I’ve been trying to understand what happened and what it means in yesterday’s election results. These are my unscientific thoughts and observations.
Senator Shaheen won reelection in a close contest. I always expected her to win. Where I went wrong was thinking she was more popular than she turned out to be. She was helped by several things. One is of course money – she had more of it than Scott Brown did. By a lot. I think she got very lucky that her involvement in the IRS scandal over conservative groups came out too late to help Brown. And then there is of course Brown himself. He never shook the “carpetbagger” label for one thing. For another some activist groups, gun rights for example, never really trusted him to do better than Shaheen. Not that they would vote for Shaheen but they didn’t work for him with the enthusiasm they might have had he had a better record on gun rights.
One bit of irony is that the large increase in Democratic voters in NH is a result of Democrats moving into the state from Massachusetts. So in a way Brown was sort of being attacked for doing what his attackers had already done.
In the governors race my observation has been that people in New Hampshire need a good reason to replace a governor and Hassan didn’t give them an excuse and Havenstein didn’t make a good case for himself. It was a dull campaign and that favors the incumbent.
District 1 was the closest on money spent with the Republican having a bit more outside support and a bit less direct campaign money. It seems like these two keep exchanging the seat so they are both well known. Shea-Porter being tied as a lackey of Pelosi and Obama may have made the difference here. I wonder if another message here is that with money being equal the Republican wins in New Hampshire?
There was a big money difference (in favor of the Democrat) in the second district where the Democrat won reelection. I think the key though was a weak candidate who was easily, and successfully, attacked as too extreme.
All in all yesterday’s results in and out of NH is going to make the next election in two years even more interesting.