Hassan, Pappas Hold Off Strong Challenges by Bolduc, Leavitt in NH
The polls showed it very close but the actual vote was far different as incumbents Sen. Maggie Hassan and Rep. Chris Pappas pulled off re-election victories Tuesday night.
With 80% of the vote counted the Associated Press called the race for Hassan over Republican Don Bolduc 54%-43% while Pappas held off GOP challenger Karoline Leavitt 54%-46%. Gov. Chris Sununu won a fourth term as governor 57%-42% defeating Democratic state Sen. Tom Sherman.
SNHU Civic Scholar and founder of NH Political Capital Dean Spiliotes said that Hassan and Pappas came out of the gate strong once the votes began to be counted and never really looked back.
"Democrats ran up big margins in Democratic-leaning communities. In some of the Republican communities, like in Belknap County and some of the other towns where the expectation was that Bolduc and Leavitt would do well Democrats did better than expected not necessarily winning the pounds but keeping pace, or only falling a little bit short," Spiliotes said.
Thanks after a bitter race
Hassan's supporters cheered loudly as the smiling Democrat claimed victory and thanked them for their help securing the win in a bitter race with Bolduc.
"I want to thank Don Bolduc for a hard fought campaign and I want to thank Don Bolduc for his service to our country. We have differences but we share a love of country. And to the people of New Hampshire thank you for the trust you have once again placed in me," Hassan said. "I promise you, Democrats, independents and Republicans who voted for me, and those who did not, that I will keep working every day to serve you faithfully, to listen to you and to address the challenges facing your country."
Bolduc conceded the race after serenading supporters with a rendition of "Take Me Home, Country Roads" earlier in the evening.
"I want to thank my supporters who stuck with me through thick and thin and I love you all," Bolduc said, his wife at his side. He read the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling from the podium.
"This is not a loss. We woke a lot of people up hopefully we put her on notice. And hopefully, she will do the right thing for Granite Staters," Bolduc said.
A Run for the White House?
Pappas claimed victory after telling supporters he received a concession call from Leavitt following what he called a tough fight that was about the people of New Hampshire.
"I received a very gracious call from Karoline Leavitt who called to concede the race. I have nothing but respect for her and the campaign that she ran. And we should all be grateful for those who step up to run for office. And I am very grateful for every Granite Stater who voted today," Pappas said. "New Hampshire sent an incredibly powerful message. And that message is that New Hampshire wants leaders in Congress who will work together to find common purpose and use common sense."
Sununu became the second New Hampshire governor to be elected to four terms and claimed victory after Sherman called to concede. He thanked his political team and family for their support in a message about teamwork.
"It really is team effort. It is never about the individual. I say this all the time. I try to preach it across the country. Leadership is important, but it ain’t about us. It is not. I gotta represent 1.4 million people and the best part of my job is I get to be super selfish. My job is to put them first every single time. You guys, all work the knocking on the doors, the phone calls, the mailers, everything. That’s what really makes it happen. So on behalf of everybody, this has to a night of gratitude, of pure, unselfish gratitude," Sununu said.
Now that the election is over will Sununu begin to think about a White House run? The first question is what Donald Trump decides to do.
"I don't know if he's gonna want to do that kind of battle because it will be difficult given how early Trump appears to be trying to freeze the field if Trump announces on the 15th I think I'll give it a close look. I think he has mixed feelings about it," Spiliotes said.
Maine Gov. Jane Mills spoliled Republican Paul LePage's try at another term with a 56%-42% win.
Democratic Hampton native Maura Healey was elected the first woman as well as openly gay governor in Massachusetts history by defeating Repulican Geoff Diehl 63%-35%.