Maggie Hassan Defeats Kelly Ayotte In New Hampshire

It won’t change the balance of power in the Senate, but New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan has defeated Kelly Ayotte to capture New Hampshire’s Senate seat for the Democrats:

CONCORD, N.H. — New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat, has unseated Senator Kelly Ayotte, a Republican, in one of the most competitive and closely watched races of this election cycle. The race was called Wednesday afternoon.

The race cost about $120 million, an extraordinary sum for such a small state.

The main challenge for both was to keep their bases happy while appealing to the state’s large number of independents. This forced both candidates to emphasize bipartisanship and to try to keep politics out of major issues, like the state’s crushing opioid epidemic.

Ms. Ayotte, 48, a former prosecutor, has been a rising star in Washington, where she allied herself with conservative causes, like defunding Planned Parenthood and opposing a confirmation vote on a Supreme Court nominee.

She sought to present a more moderate face at home. But her delicate dance around Donald J. Trump’s candidacy drew considerable negative attention. After saying she “absolutely” saw him as a role model, she said she would not vote for him.

Ms. Hassan, 58, a former State Senate majority leader who helped pass same-sex marriage, allied herself with the Democrats’ biggest stars, including President and Michelle Obama, as they flooded the state for Hillary Clinton.

Along with Illinois, this gives Democrats two seats that were picked up from Republicans on Tuesday, which falls three short of what they would’ve needed to actually take control in the new Congress. Democrats also managed to hold on to the Senate seat in Nevada despite the retirement of outgoing Minority Leader Harry Reid. This leaves the Republicans presently holding a  51-48 majority in the new Senate with one seat in Louisiana undecided. Louisiana’s seat will be decided in a runoff election between the top two candidates who emerged on Tuesday, Republican John Neely Kennedy and Democrat Democrat Foster Campbell that will be held on December 3rd. Kennedy is expected to easily win that runoff, leaving Republicans with a  52-48 majority.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Anonne says:

    And good riddance.