EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 6, 2012

BLUE HAMPSHIRE

From president to Congress, state goes Democratic

By John Toole jtoole@eagletribune.com
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — President Obama carried New Hampshire last night in winning re-election over Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

Obama defeated Romney 52 percent to 47 percent in unofficial results.

Obama will have more help from New Hampshire: two Democratic congressmen.

Voters elected Democrat Ann McLane Kuster over Republican incumbent Charles Bass in a rematch in the 2nd Congressional District. She led him 55 percent to 43 percent.

Former Congressman Carol Shea-Porter beat Republican incumbent Frank Guinta in the 1st Congressional District. Shea-Porter edged Guinta, 49 percent to 47 percent, in a rematch of their 2010 race.

The Kuster-Bass race was one of the most closely watched throughout the country for a sign of which party would claim victory in the election.

“The truth is, this campaign wasn’t about him and it wasn’t about me,” Kuster told supporters. “It was about you — the people of the 2nd District — and the kind of future we want for our families, for our state and for our country.”

Kuster said voters proved they were ready to put politics aside and do what’s right for the middle class, small businesses and families.

She made a point of thanking Republican and independent voters for helping her to victory.

She spoke to the need to get government working for the people.

“We all know that’s going to take common sense and compromise,” she said. “So, here’s my commitment to you: I will work with anybody, from any party, on any issue if I believe it’s in the best interest of our state.”

Voting capped a historic, extremely competitive campaign in New Hampshire that left races up and down the ballot in doubt.

So hard fought was the contest for every vote that one Romney supporter creatively plowed new political ground by placing a 32-inch television outside the Windham High School polling station that played a five-minute, anti-Obama video throughout the day.

Moderator Peter Griffin, after consulting with the Secretary of State, and upon further review by the Attorney General’s Office, allowed it. Their conclusion, Griffin said: “It was the electronic equivalent of a political sign.”

Rep. David Bates, R-Windham, had little doubt when he brought the TV to the polls. He is the chairman of the House Election Law Committee and knew the law required only clearance for a 10-foot right of way for voters.

Bates acknowledged some disagreed with the display.

“A few grumbled about it,” Bates said.

But others responded favorably. One voter passing by early last night gestured at the TV and said, “That’s a good video.”

Griffin said he had received only four complaints by 6 p.m.

Romney had many other voters on his side, including Brad Paquin of Pelham.

“I don’t like the deficit and I don’t like all the spending,” Paquin said.

Romney topped a straight GOP ballot from Jean Sarkis of Atkinson. That way, she reasoned, “If Romney gets in, he has all the support he needs.”

For Michael Arsenault of Salem, it was all about the GOP, from Romney on down.

“I’m Republican across the board, baby,” Arsenault said.

Jorg Dreusicke held a Republican totem pole outside the Pelham voting place at the high school that included two Romney signs, one was “Veterans for Romney.” His wife wanted more.

“My wife is mad because I didn’t put up ‘Women for Romney,’” Dreusicke said.

Ryan Slauter of Windham concluded Obama deserved another shot.

“I feel like he wasn’t given a good enough chance the last four years,” he said. “George W. Bush put us in a hole that was difficult to get out of.”

Leesa Haslam of Atkinson voted for Obama because of what he has accomplished.

“I credit him with saving the auto industry and I think he did a great job with the banking industry,” Haslam said.

She was fed up with Congress.

“I’m trying to just send a message that I want Congress to work with the president, not against the president,” Haslam said.

Salem voter Shawn Dragonetti went with Obama.

“He explained his platform better than Romney did,” Dragonetti said.

Some found both Romney and Obama lacking. Haley Gustafson of Hampstead said she voted for Libertarian Gary Johnson.

“I want a third party,” Gustafson said. “It’s about sending a message.”

David Nelson of Derry hoped whatever the result, those elected would work together for the benefit of everyone.

“I just hope whoever wins will be mindful of a divided electorate, if the outcome is close, and govern appropriately,” Nelson said. “There’s no mandate to be found in a narrow victory. Let’s try to find common ground.”

Reporters Doug Ireland, Dustin Luca and Julie Huss contributed to this story.