Shifting granite: New hampshire's change from largely republican to largely democratic over two election cycles


Thanks to its first-in-the-nation presidential primary, New Hampshire is said to be a place where people never stop talking politics. However, Granite State voters' attention spans were put to the test in the 2008 electoral cycle. The 2008 campaign began almost immediately after the 2006 midterms concluded, with Illinois senator Barack Obama making a star turn with his visit at the end of the calendar year. Even apart from presidential politics, though, the 2008 elections promised high-intensity matchups, including the possibility of not one, but two rematches. Former governor Jeanne Shaheen plotted to wrest a U.S. Senate seat from John Sununu, who had bested her six years earlier. Further down the ballot, former First Congressional District representative Jeb Bradley was preparing to avenge his surprise upset two years earlier at the hands of a little- known progressive Democrat, Carol Shea-Porter. Bradley was hardly the only New Hampshire Republican wanting to reverse the party's 2006 election fortunes. Democrats had swept into office from the top of the ticket to the bottom, seizing both seats in the House of Representatives and gaining control of both houses of the state legislature for the first time in more than a century. Stunned Republicans were left arguing about what type of natural disaster had befallen them: A hundred-year tsunami of anti-Republican sentiment most unlikely to occur again, or an earthquake that had left the political landscape forever transformed. Observers wondered whether 2008 would prove 2006 a fluke or whether it would confirm the sense that the lone Republican holdout in New England had fallen under Democratic control.


Political Science

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Temple University Press

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Book Chapter


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