Battleground States

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Battleground States: New Hampshire

August 14, 2008
by findingDulcinea Staff
Democratic and Republican battles are heating up in New Hampshire, where local politicians have gone head to head in a fierce senatorial campaign. It is only one of several battleground states in which local races may influence the outcome of national contests.

Backstory

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While Iowa was the state that launched Barack Obama’s candidacy, New Hampshire’s Republican primary was the event that propelled John McCain toward the nomination.  McCain has a special relationship with the Granite State, campaigning hard there and appealing broadly to New Hampshire voters in a slew of town halls, family visits and other local campaign appearances prior to the 2000 and 2008 Republican primaries.  Although the state went Democratic in 2004, John McCain’s nomination has put New Hampshire on the national radar as a state that may transform from blue to red in 2008.

Key Players

John McCain is not the only Republican in New Hampshire this year with a very competitive contest coming up in November. John Sununu, the incumbent Republican senator, is facing a fierce challenge from Democratic ex-Gov. Jeanne Shaheen in a rematch of 2002. A coinciding close senatorial campaign with the presidential race makes for a complex political dynamic and great pundit fodder. Will the victorious presidential candidate be the one that most successfully rides the coattails of the senatorial candidate, or vice versa?

Possible Outcomes

It is no coincidence that the Obama campaign picked New Hampshire as the state where Hillary Clinton stumped for the first time on the candidate’s behalf.  His defeat in New Hampshire during the primaries led to the resurgence of the Clinton campaign, and Democratic “unity” will be key while McCain pushes his “maverick” brand that resonates with New Hampshire voters.
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