Oh, Blue Hampshire! New Hampshire Will Be, as Usual, the Site of the First Presidential Primary in 2008. Is It Significant That in the Elections of This Past November, Democrats Ruled in This Republican Stronghold?

By Kenny, Jack | The New American, January 8, 2007 | Go to article overview

Oh, Blue Hampshire! New Hampshire Will Be, as Usual, the Site of the First Presidential Primary in 2008. Is It Significant That in the Elections of This Past November, Democrats Ruled in This Republican Stronghold?


Kenny, Jack, The New American


In a last look at last November's election results, we caution readers that each area of the country has its own voting idiosyncrasies, its own reason for voting for a specific candidate or political party. Generally speaking, in voting out the Republicans in congressional races across the country, voters were not rejecting conservatism but the failed policies of George W. Bush, particularly his Iraq policy. But other issues, including local issues, also applied. Take New Hampshire, where, as usual, the first presidential primary will be held.

The Granite State, that rugged Republican stronghold tucked in among liberal Massachusetts, "crunchy granola" Vermont, and former bellwether Maine in the northeast corner of the United States, has, or will soon have, a Democratic governor, a Democratic House, a Democratic Senate, a Democratic Governor's Council and two Democratic U.S. representatives. This is an April Fools' joke, right?

No, this was the outlook in the early morning hours of November 8, 2006 after voters swept Republicans out of office and turned the formerly "red" Republican Granite State a deep Democratic "blue." For Democrats it was, "Happy Days Are Here Again." For Republicans, it was some variation of the Crystal Gayle hit of the late '70s, "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue."

What happened? Well, New Hampshire was still part of America in 2006, and the nation as a whole went Democratic in the electoral earthquake of '06. New Hampshire had at the top of the ballot John Lynch, a freshman Democratic governor who is very popular, either because of or in spite of being one of the most cautious, risk-aversive politicians on the planet. He took an unprecedented 77 percent of the vote against his Republican opponent.

Judd Gregg, the state's former congressman and governor and now its three-term U.S. senator, was not on the ballot this year to stem the hemorrhage of votes flowing to the Democratic side of the ballot. Neither was the state's junior senator, John E. Sununu, son of the former governor and White House chief of staff. The State House races offered some solid and capable GOP candidates, some of whom were conservative and a few of whom survived the "tsunami." But a great many voters, including many independents as well as Republicans, apparently expressed their discontent with the present course of human events by simply voting Democratic.

Lay of the Land

Yet this was not a one-time political convulsion in a land of such enduring Republican power. The national news media has, for the most part, missed the political changes taking place here over the last quarter century or more. That is hardly surprising. Visiting mainly the southern tier of the state (within an hour's drive of Boston) at the end of each election cycle, most reporters have been slow even to discover that the increasingly high-tech state with the first presidential primary every four years is no longer "Cow Hampshuh." It is also a long way politically from the state it was when more than one Democratic vote in town meant, "The bastid must've voted twice!"

Consider what has happened here since New Hampshire voters pulled Vice President George H.W. Bush out of the water in the Republican presidential primary in 1988. Bush, after finishing third in the Iowa Caucuses that year, won decisively over Kansas Senator and Iowa Caucus winner Robert Dole in New Hampshire eight days later. ("New Hampshire stands ready to correct the mistakes of Iowa," the supremely confident Gov. Sununu announced when the Iowa votes were counted.) Bush the Eider carried New Hampshire and 39 other states that November and declared "God Bless New Hampshire!" on election night. From a Republican perspective, God has been rather sparing in his blessings ever since.

Bill Clinton and John Kerry have placed New Hampshire in the Democratic column in three of the last four presidential elections, and the current President Bush barely carried the state against Al Gore in 2000. …

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