EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

November 6, 2012

N.H. Democrats have lots to celebrate

Democrats make some big gains

Representative-elect Betsy Burtis had a lot to celebrate last night.

The Democratic committee chairman in Derry had won her race for the New Hampshire House on a breakthrough night that saw the Democrats deliver the state to President Obama, the governor’s office to Maggie Hassan, a seat in Congress to Ann McLane Kuster and make legislative gains.

Locked out of legislative seats from Rockingham County in a historic GOP landslide two years ago, the Democrats bounced back by grabbing two seats from Derry and one in Londonderry. Besides Burtis, Mary Till was a winner in Derry. Lisa Whittemore won in Londonderry.

“This is a good night all around,” Burtis said in a phone call from Hassan’s victory party in Manchester.

She admitted the win came as a surprise, because family health concerns had limited her campaigning in the weeks leading up to the election.

“I’m just thrilled and honored,” Burtis said.

That Obama and Hassan prevailed didn’t come as a surprise.

“What is surprising about New Hampshire is not that Obama and Hassan won, but the margins of their victory. Larger than polls projected,” University of New Hampshire political science professor Dante Scala said.

That meant political coattails down the ballot.

It may have helped Kuster in the 2nd Congressional District and it gave former Congressman Carol Shea-Porter a shot to beat Republican incumbent Frank Guinta in the 1st District.

“This is having ramifications down ticket. See both Congressional races,” Scala said.

Obama’s win was predictable, St. Anselm College assistant professor of politics Christopher Galdieri said.

“The campaign’s ground game and the number of visits from the president and other campaign surrogates clearly had their intended effect,” Galdieri said.

Hassan benefitted from having Obama at the top and Lamontage as an opponent, he said.

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