The latest polls giving Democrat Maggie Hassan a slight lead over GOP contender Ovide Lamontagne were right: Hassan will succeed Gov. John Lynch, who’s leaving the governor’s post after four terms.
Hassan distinguished herself from Lamontagne by saying his views would be harmful to the state’s middle class. That must have resonated with voters, who favored her with 55 percent to Lamontagne’s 42 percent, with 61 percent of the statewide vote counted.
Hassan was declared the victor just an hour after most polls closed, although people were still waiting to vote in some towns, including Londonderry.
Lamontagne can add this failed gubernatorial bid to a list of lost elections. The Manchester lawyer, 55, lost an earlier bid for governor, as well as Congress and U.S. Senate. Most recently, he lost the GOP primary to U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte in 2010.
Hassan, a former state senator and majority leader in 2009, is a lawyer from Exeter. She lost her re-election bid in 2010, when Republicans took control of both houses of the state Legislature.
While both agreed the state needs expanded gaming, Lamontagne only wanted to see a casino in Salem at Rockingham Park. Hassan said the process for siting a casino should be a competitive one, given the competition the Granite State could face along the Massachusetts’ border.
Southern Rockingham County, known for its staunch Republican base, contributed to Hassan’s victory.
Derry may be turning a little blue. Not only did the traditional GOP stronghold elect two Democratic House members — from a total of 10, but Derry also went for Hassan — 7,871 to Lamontagne’s 7,125 in preliminary vote totals. A hefty 16,389 voters cast ballots in Derry.
Kingston, too, gave Hassan the edge, 1,646 to 1,606.
But there was plenty of support for Lamontagne along the southern tier.
Hampstead, for example, voted 2,819 for Lamontagne to 2,198 for Hassan.