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RandySF

(61,483 posts)
Wed Dec 31, 2014, 06:30 PM Dec 2014

N.H. Democrats Prep Kelly Ayotte Challenge

The Republican tide that resulted in a nine-seat Senate gain nearly crested New Hampshire, where Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen held off a well-funded challenge from former Sen. Scott P. Brown by just 4 points. Combined with the possible Senate candidacy of two-term Gov. Maggie Hassan in a presidential cycle, Shaheen’s ability to hold on despite the midterm headwinds has Democrats in the state feeling an extra dose of optimism about their chances against Ayotte — who Republicans say is a formidable incumbent.

“We withstood the Republican national wave, so there’s a good feeling that in a presidential election year — where lately New Hampshire has been leaning and voting Democratic up and down the ballot — we really have an opportunity in 2016 to take that Senate seat and elect someone who we think will be more in tune with New Hampshire values,” said Kathy Sullivan, a Democratic National Committee member and longtime state party leader.

The person most often mentioned as a likely Democratic challenger is Hassan, who was just re-elected to a second two-year gubernatorial term. Hassan would follow in the recent footsteps of other New Hampshire governors who made the leap to the Senate, including Shaheen and Republican former Sen. Judd Gregg.

Hassan is already being included in head-to-head polling with Ayotte. A New England College automated survey of registered voters on Dec. 1 found Ayotte ahead 48 percent to 43 percent.

Other names floating in Democratic circles as potential candidates include former Gov. John Lynch and Rep. Anne McLane Kuster. When asked in the Capitol last week whether she was thinking about her options for 2016, including running for Senate, Kuster said, “Not yet,” before dashing into an elevator.


http://atr.rollcall.com/2016-new-hampshire-democrats-kelly-ayotte/

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