John Sununu vs. Jeanne Shaheen

My foray into New Hampshire gave me something more than a sampling of Stonyfield Yogurt’s tremendous dairy products and an amazing sampling of Middle Eastern food in Londonderry — a look at one of the hottest senate races in the northeast, John Sununu vs. Jeanne Shaheen. I wrote about it in the New York Sun:

New Hampshire is important this election season. Mr. Sununu’s seat is a key one for the Democrats to take over in order for their party to reach the 60-member milestone they need in order to gain a filibuster-proof majority. Moreover, New Hampshire, along with Pennsylvania, is a rare northeastern state that is critical to winning the presidency for this election. The Democratic vice presidential candidate, Joe Biden, will campaign in the Granite State tomorrow, and Senator McCain will be here on Sunday.

The election threatens to put a nail in New Hampshire’s reputation as a home to a flinty form of New England Republicanism focusing on individual freedom and low taxes. But in the last four years, New Hampshire’s governor’s office, congressional seats, and both branches of the state legislature have all become Democratic.

For Mr. Sununu, who beat Ms. Shaheen in 2002 U.S. Senate race, the energy coming from the current national Republican ticket of Mr. McCain and Sarah Palin is a lifeline. In an interview with the Sun, Mr. Sununu was quick to embrace Mr. McCain, the winner of the 2000 and 2008 New Hampshire primaries. Mr. Sununu alluded to President Bush once, and only in a negative context to explain his own stance on the Patriot Act.

“John McCain is very popular in New Hampshire. He’s campaigned here many times. He’s always succeeded when he’s campaigned here. People like him. They respond to him. He knows how to campaign in New Hampshire,” Mr. Sununu said after touring the National Passport Center in Portsmouth. “He is always well received and I know Sarah Palin will be as well. They’re an outstanding ticket for New Hampshire.” He called the pair “people who are [as] committed to reform as I am.”

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