Sen. Kelly Ayotte cruised to victory with an easy primary win over challenger Jim Rubens, garnering nearly 80 percent of GOP voters. She has also benefitted from Lindsey Graham’s Security is Strength super PAC pouring some needed advertising into the Granite State.
But the best news is that Ayotte is now leading Democrat and sitting Gov. Maggie Hassan. The last two polls have her at +2 and +8. As recently as two weeks ago, Ayotte trailed Hassan by up to 10 points. Most of this was because Democrats made a hard play to tie Ayotte to Donald Trump, who all but disavowed her candidacy before offering a weak endorsement.
In other N.H. races, Republican Jim Lawrence won his primary and will take on incumbent Democrat Rep. Annie Kuster in the 2CD. Kuster’s unfavorables should make this a close race, so the GOP could pick up the seat. In the 1CD, Republican Rep. Frank Guinta may lose his seat in a primary battle against challenger Rich Ashooh–the race is too close to call as of this morning.
And Chris Sununu (there’s always at least one Sununu in politics) is leading by a hair over Frank Edelblut for the GOP slot for governor. With Hassan vacating, the Dems are putting up a relative unknown in Colin Van Ostern. Sununu enjoys high name recognition and the highest favorability ratings of all gubernatorial candidates.
New Hampshire is a really good bellwether for the nation in many ways, especially in down ballot races. There’s a decent chance the GOP can own both Congressional seats, retain the one Senate seat (the other is Democrat Sen. Janne Shaheen), and pick up the state house. That’s a win, even if Clinton is still up by 5 points over Trump.