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A Closer Look At The Results Of New Hampshire's Races

Charles Krupa
New Hampshire's Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan, pictured here at a Manchester, N.H., rally on Nov. 9, defeated incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte in a close race for that U.S. Senate seat.

Races in the Granite State were of interest to a national audience in this election, from the presidential race to one for a U.S. Senate seat.

John Gregg, news editor at Valley News, spoke to Vermont Edition on Thursday to recap New Hampshire's election results.

U.S. Senate

The hotly-contested U.S. Senate race between incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte and outgoing Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan concluded in a win for Hassan, as Ayotte conceded on Wednesday.

"It was an incredibly close race – somewhere between 700 and 1,000 votes separated them out of 700,000 cast – more than that," Gregg says. "And the other thing that is a big number, somewhere north of $100 million, was spent on this race in ads, which is an incredible amount of money."

Ayotte was seen as a vulnerable Republican incumbent and tried to balance appealing to the Republican base while also convincing independents to stay with her rather than switching to Hassan.

"In the Upper Valley, Kelly Ayotte lost a couple of towns that Donald Trump won, like Charlestown and Claremont," Gregg says. "And what that says to me is that perhaps she lost because she was also seen as part of the establishment in Washington, because she was a very, very reliable vote for [Sen.] Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader."


With Hassan running for U.S. Senate, that left an open seat for New Hampshire's governor. Republican Chris Sununu defeated Democrat Colin Van Ostern in that gubernatorial race.

"I think Sununu won by about 2 percentage points and that probably was ... largely a factor of name recognition. People seemed to be comfortable with the Sununu name," Gregg says. "His father was a governor and his brother had been a U.S. senator."

Credit Jim Cole / AP
Republican Chris Sununu, pictured here with his wife Valerie in Concord, N.H., on Nov. 9, defeated Democrat Colin Van Ostern in the New Hampshire gubernatorial race.

State legislature

"What's interesting here is the Statehouse in New Hampshire, for the first time in more than a decade, is now going to be entirely Republican – governor's office, Senate, House and the executive council has a majority of Republicans there," Gregg says. "And that, I think, is largely a factor of the redistricting that Republicans did after the 2010 census."


New Hampshire was one of the closely-watched states in the presidential race, and it went narrowly for Hillary Clinton.

"What was surprising here is that Donald Trump actually won Sullivan County, which is where Claremont and Newport are ... That's a blue-collar county, by and large, with a lot of factories that have closed," Gregg says. "And he won that, but he lost Grafton County, which is where Lebanon and Hanover are. Hillary Clinton won Grafton County with 57 percent of the vote to just about 38 percent for Trump."

Gregg adds that Trump also did well in the state's southeastern counties, an area which tends to be more conservative.

The college vote

National demographic results show that young people overwhelmingly voted for Hillary Clinton, and Gregg acknowledges that seemed to hold true in New Hampshire.

"I think you could make an argument that the college vote probably pushed both Hillary Clinton and Maggie Hassan over the top in New Hampshire," Gregg says. "They had margins of at least like 65 percent in those college towns.

"If you look at just Lebanon and Hanover ... Hillary Clinton got about 11,500 votes and Trump got under 2,800 votes. So, you know, those college students voted, and they voted for the Democrats."

As a result, Gregg says there may be an effort to restrict college voters' ability to vote in future elections.

"I think what you're going to see to that last point, and the fact that New Hampshire Republicans now control the Senate, is they are probably going to take more steps to try and tighten the ability of college students who, if they have their domicile here – which is different from residence – are able to vote in New Hampshire," Gregg says. "So I suspect that the issue of voter IDs and voter access are going to continue to be legislated in Concord."

Listen to the full interview above.

Jane Lindholm is the host, executive producer and creator of But Why: A Podcast For Curious Kids. In addition to her work on our international kids show, she produces special projects for Vermont Public. Until March 2021, she was host and editor of the award-winning Vermont Public program Vermont Edition.
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