This year’s Senate race in New Hampshire is a high-stakes contest between two powerful and competent women. The incumbent Republican Senator, Kelly Ayotte is facing off against the sitting Governor, Maggie Hassan.
Voter’s don’t like Trump or Clinton
In notoriously independent New Hampshire, neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump is very popular. Both Senate candidates are in the unusual position of trying to be as far away from their Party’s presidential candidates as possible.
Mrs. Hassan’s backers have aired three different adverts linking Mrs. Ayotte to Mr. Trump. In response, Mrs. Ayotte's allies have sought to associate Mrs. Hassan with Mrs. Clinton, who is about 20 percentage points less popular than her. — The Economist
Key state for control of Senate
New Hampshire has become a critical battleground state for control of the U.S. Senate. The Democrats need to pick up four seats to control the Senate if Mrs. Clinton wins the White House or five if Mr. Trump wins. New Hampshire has emerged as a key target for both parties. Upwards of $100 million is expected to be spent on the race in this small state.
As is often the case in New Hampshire politics, the issue of gun rights is high on the voter’s agenda. Hardly surprising when the state’s official motto is “Live Free or Die.” Guns and Ammo rank New Hampshire as the tenth best state for gun owners.
Gun rights a big issue
Sen. Ayotte is favored by supporters of gun rights in New Hampshire, while Gov. Hassan’s has gathered support from groups supporting gun control. Following the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, supporters of a measure designed to tightened gun control laws had hopes that Ms. Ayotte would support a bill requiring stricter background checks to buy a gun, but just hours before the vote Sen. Ayotte announced her opposition. Ayotte has received financial support from the NRA in her reelection bid.
Gov. Hassan recently vetoed a bill passed by the New Hampshire legislature that would have eased restrictions on concealed carry permit for weapons. The bill would have removed an existing requirement that an applicant is “suitable” to local authorities when applying for a concealed weapons permit. Ms. Hassan has picked up more than $3.5 million in contributions from national gun control groups.
The state’s largest newspaper expressed its disapproval of the Governor’s stance:
So we’ll have to wait for a new governor, one who isn’t trying to curry favor with out-of-state gun control fanatics. — The New Hampshire Union-Leader
In a recent debate between the two candidates, Gov. Hassan advocated for expanded background checks on gun purchases.
One way to address terrorism is to expand background checks for gun purchases so that terrorists can’t buy guns online or at gun shows. — Gov. Maggie Hassan
Sen. Ayotte responded that she supports protecting the constitutional rights of all Americans “which is equally important in all of this.”
Both are capable candidates
The good folks of New Hampshire will have the opportunity to make their choice between these two qualified women on November 8. There are solid arguments on both sides that would suggest that either one of them would well serve the interests of New Hampshire.