Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

As New Hampshire Goes, So Goes the Senate ; Center-Right Voters

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

As New Hampshire Goes, So Goes the Senate ; Center-Right Voters

Article excerpt

MANCHESTER, N.H. In 1936, President Franklin Roosevelt defeated Kansas Gov. Alfred Landon in 46 of the 48 states, thereby creating the jest, As Maine goes, so goes Vermont. Eight decades later, New England has gone from the Republicans last redoubt in a bad year to their least receptive region in any year. Its six states have made 36 decisions in the last six presidential elections, and the score is Democrats 35, Republicans 1 New Hampshire supported George W. Bush in 2000.

Republicans hold just two of New Englands 21 congressional seats and two of 12 Senate seats, those of Maines Susan Collins and New Hampshires Kelly Ayotte.

Just nine months ago time flies when youre having fun Donald Trump won his first victory in New Hampshires primary. Ayotte could become an especially regrettable part of the collateral damage his campaign is doing to the party with which he is temporarily identified. But she probably will survive his undertow and win a second term, partly because she is almost everything people say they want in politicians: She is neither old nor rich nor angry.

She is 48 and often finds life amusing, as she recently did concerning former Democratic Sen. Evan Bayhs problem. He is trying to convince Indiana to return him as a senator to Washington, where he has lived and prospered since voluntarily leaving the Senate in 2011.

When he was recently asked the address of his Indiana condominium, he was stumped. Ayotte, laughing, said, I probably couldnt tell you my address in Washington. There she lives in a basement apartment, returning on weekends to New Hampshire, where her husband runs a small landscaping and snow removal business.

This year, New Hampshire has what has become an American rarity, a choice between two grown-ups. Ayotte is the states former attorney general.

Her opponent, Maggie Hassan, 58, is ending her second term as governor. Both women have approximately 100 percent name recognition and benefit from what an Ayotte aide calls three degrees of separation: Almost everyone in this small state has, or knows someone who has, met or otherwise had contact with the two.

Which works to Ayottes advantage. …

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