United States House of Representatives elections in New Hampshire, 2006

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The New Hampshire congressional elections of 2006 took place on November 7, 2006, in which New Hampshire's two congressional districts each elected a representative. New Hampshire has historically been a stronghold of the Republican Party, although the common political tradition has been likened to that of the Libertarian Party. Both congressional seats are usually held by Republicans, in addition to most state and local offices. However, New Hampshire gave its four electoral votes to John Kerry in 2004 and to Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996. Democratic Governor John Lynch, who defeated incumbent Republican Governor Craig Benson in 2004, is widely popular and defeated his Republican opponent, Jim Coburn, in 2006. As a result, New Hampshire is commonly classified by the media as a tossup or battleground state in many federal elections. In this particular election, Democrats were not initially expected to unseat the Republican incumbents Jeb Bradley (NH-1) and Charlie Bass (NH-2). However, first district Democratic candidate Carol Shea-Porter and second district Democratic candidate Paul Hodes raised significant funds and ran more aggressive campaigns than in the past. Also, third-party candidates were seen as having little or no influence on the outcome election. In a surprising upset, both Bass and Bradley were unseated by Hodes and Shea-Porter respectively on election day. Since January 2007, Democrats have held both New Hampshire House seats for the first time since 1915.

Overview[edit]

United States House of Representatives elections in New Hampshire, 2006[1]
Party Votes Percentage Seats +/–
Democratic 209,434 52.01% 2 +2
Republican 189,615 47.09% 0 -2
Libertarian 3,305 0.82% 0 -
Others 315 0.08% 0 -
Totals 402,669 100.00% 2 -

District 1[edit]

Defeated Republican incumbent Jeb Bradley.

In 2006, Republican incumbent Jeb Bradley sought a third term. In a surprise upset victory in the Democratic primaries, Rochester Democratic chair Carol Shea-Porter defeated the better funded and party-favored state House Democratic Leader Jim Craig, getting 54% of the vote to Craig's 34%. Bradley is a fiscal conservative who supports reduction in taxes and spending. Shea-Porter supports a Medicare for All program and increased federal funding for education. Unlike her opponent, she disagrees with President Bush on foreign policy issues and the War in Iraq. In 2004, this was the only Congressional District in New England that President Bush carried.

Polls conducted over the course of the campaign showed Bradley in mid-September holding a 25% lead over Shea-Porter. The trend over the next six weeks, however, showed that lead shrinking.[2] Just prior to election day Bradley was favored over Shea-Porter by just 5%, within the 5% margin of error.[3]

Despite those polling trends, and the shift toward Democratic candidates seen nationwide in 2006, Shea-Porter's victory over Bradley was described by many as "surprising" and an "upset.".[4]

When the votes were counted, Shea-Porter was declared victorious with 51% of the vote to Bradley's 49%.

Candidates[edit]

Results[edit]

New Hampshire congressional elections, District 1
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Carol Shea-Porter 100,691 51.27%
Republican Jeb Bradley (incumbent) 95,527 48.64%
Other N/A 159 0.08%
Democratic gain from Republican Swing

District 2[edit]

Defeated Republican incumbent Charles Bass.
Democratic Candidate Paul Hodes.

Incumbent Charles Bass (R) won reelection in 2004 with 58% percent of the vote, even as his district was won by John Kerry 52% to 47%. Bass is, like his colleague Bradley, a self-described political moderate and fiscal conservative. Bass also embraces environmentalism and pro-choice politics.

He easily defeated primary challenges from Berlin Mayor Bob Danderson and 9/11 critic and constitutionalist Mary Maxwell. The Democratic nominee was 2004 challenger Paul Hodes, an attorney. Hodes is a strong critic of the Bush administration, supporting issues such as universal healthcare, deficit reduction, the raising of the minimum wage, and an immediate withdrawal of National Guard and Reserve troops from Iraq.

In late September, a top Bass staffer resigned after news broke that a US Government computer from Bass's DC office had been posting anonymous concern troll messages to NH blogs. In these messages, "IndyNH" claimed to be a supporter of Paul Hodes who was discouraged by Bass's unbeatable lead and urged other Hodes supporters to turn their efforts to other, more winnable races.[5]

The Bass-Hodes matchup was considered more competitive than that of Bradley and Shea-Porter, since voters in the 2nd district have sided with the Republican Party less consistently in recent years. Additionally, Hodes surpassed his opponent in funds. Therefore, the 2006 election was predicted to be a great deal closer than Bass's easy win in 2004.[6] Initially, Bass maintained early leads over Hodes in most non-partisan polls, ranging from just 7-points in one poll to 27-points in another.[2] However, as the election drew nearer, polls indicated either a slight Hodes lead or a general tossup.[7][8] Just before election day, Hodes pulled in front of Bass in numerous polls.[9] On election day at 10:30pm, Charlie Bass conceded defeat to Paul Hodes, who garnered 53% of the vote as opposed to 45% for Bass.

Candidates[edit]

Results[edit]

New Hampshire congressional elections, District 2
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Paul Hodes 108,743 52.71%
Republican Charlie Bass (incumbent) 94,088 45.61%
Libertarian Ken Blevens 3,305 1.60%
Other N/A 156 0.08%
Democratic gain from Republican Swing

References[edit]