United States House of Representatives elections in New Hampshire, 2006

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The 2006 House of Representatives elections in New Hampshire took place on November 7, 2006 to determine who would represent the state of New Hampshire in the United States House of Representatives during the 110th Congress from January 3, 2007 until January 3, 2009.

New Hampshire had historically been a stronghold of the Republican Party. Both congressional seats were held by Republicans going into the election, 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, was widely popular, and defeated his Republican opponent, Jim Coburn, in the simultaneous 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 either of 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 Democrats had in years past. In a surprising upset, both Bass and Bradley were unseated by Hodes and Shea-Porter respectively on election day. This was the first time Democrats had held both New Hampshire House seats 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.
Democratic Candidate Carol Shea-Porter.

Incumbent Jeb Bradley won reelection in 2004 with 63% of the vote. Bradley was a fiscal conservative who supported reductions in taxes and spending. In 2004, this was the only Congressional District in New England that President Bush carried.

In a surprise upset victory in the Democratic primary, 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%. Shea-Porter supported a single-payer healthcare program and increased federal funding for education. Unlike her opponent, she disagreed with President Bush on foreign policy issues and the War in Iraq.

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 was, like his colleague Bradley, a self-described political moderate and fiscal conservative. Bass also embraced environmentalism and pro-choice politics.

Bass 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, raising 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 had sided with the Republican Party less consistently in recent years. Additionally, Hodes raised more campaign funds than the incumbent. Therefore, the 2006 election was expected 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 tossup.[7][8] Just before election day, Hodes pulled in front of Bass in several 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]