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Merrimack Valley

January 17, 2010

Politics without borders: NH residents work on Bay State campaign

Perhaps it's special election envy: On both sides of the political spectrum, Granite Staters are getting involved in the Senate race in the Bay State.

From phone calls to e-mail appeals to television ads, New Hampshire politicians and activists are offering their support to Democrat Martha Coakley and Republican Scott Brown.

Dante Scala, a University of New Hampshire political scientist, said it is more common that Massachusetts volunteers, especially Democrats, come to New Hampshire, where races are generally more competitive.

"The New Hampshire Democrats are trying to return the favor by helping out Coakley," he said. "New Hampshire Republicans are trying to rally because they would benefit from a Scott Brown victory. It would do a lot to reinforce the idea that this will be the Republicans' year."

It's not clear how much difference the help from across the border may make.

"Field work, knocking on doors, makes a difference on the margins," Scala said. "But this could be a race that's decided on the margins. It could be a case that's decided on a couple of percentage points."

The New Hampshire Democratic Party had run multiple phone banks and sent out e-mails encouraging state Democrats to donate to Coakley's campaign, party spokesman Derek Richer said. They will send hundreds of volunteers to Massachusetts to help with get-out-the-vote efforts in the days leading up to the election Tuesday, he said.

Coakley spokeswoman Alex Zaroulis said the campaign was excited to have New Hampshire activists on board.

"The political activists in New Hampshire are the best," she said. "They know how to campaign, they know how to do retail politics, they know how to reach voters."

Zaroulis said it was usually the "reverse commute," but said activists in both states were happy to cross the state border to fight for a common cause.

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