EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

November 4, 2012

N.H. expects record turnout, close races

Record turnout anticipated on Tuesday

Sen. Jim Rausch, R-Derry, stood in the Adams Memorial Opera House 16 months ago and endorsed Mitt Romney for president.

Rausch did not know then he would be a participant in a historically close New Hampshire election with neck-and-neck races up and down the ballot.

On Tuesday, voters will learn whether Rausch’s prediction then was right: “Mitt Romney is the most qualified candidate running for president and the only Republican who can beat Barack Obama in 2012.”

Rausch is himself expected to win re-election against Democrat Christopher Reisdorf in their Republican-leaning state Senate district. Romney’s fate is more in doubt, but Rausch is encouraged.

“I am optimistically hopeful,” he said last week. “I still believe he is the candidate who can make improvements to the economy and create jobs to put us on the right track.”

Optimism extends across the political aisle.

New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Raymond Buckley issued an appeal for donations just six days before the election, laying out the party’s prospects for success at every level. “On to victory!” Buckley challenged the troops.

Most recent polls give Obama a slight edge over Romney in New Hampshire, but within the margin of error.

It is not the only close race.

Democrat Maggie Hassan last week had a narrow lead over Republican Ovide Lamontagne in polling for the governor’s race.

Rematches had Republican incumbent Congressmen Charles Bass and Frank Guinta in close races with their Democratic challengers, Ann McLane Kuster and former Congressman Carol Shea-Porter, respectively.

Granite State Republicans rode a Tea Party landslide to legislative control two years ago. But they have long conceded they will lose seats from their strong majorities in the Legislature.

A recent University of New Hampshire analysis projected Democrats could take control of the House, 204-196.

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