New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan Claims Victory Over Sen. Kelly Ayotte
Update, November 9, 6 p.m.: The Associated Press has formally declared the race for Hassan, and Ayotte has conceded. According to the Boston Globe, Ayotte released a statement saying she had contacted Hassan to concede and thanked the people of New Hampshire for their support.
New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat, has declared victory in her bid to represent her state in the U.S. Senate, claiming to have edged out sitting Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte after a long and bitter campaign.
Results were certified by the state and released Wednesday afternoon showed Hassan with just over 1,000 more votes than her opponent, a razor-thin lead in a race where 736,000 voters cast ballots. The race could be headed for a recount. Ayotte has until Monday to decide whether to do so.
Hassan declared victory early, with thousands of votes left to be counted.
“As we’ve gotten more results overnight and this morning, it’s clear that we have maintained the lead and have won this race,” Hassan told supporters today.
Her campaign weighed in again after the state-certified results were released: “Today’s announcement from the New Hampshire Secretary of State certifies what we already knew: that Governor Maggie Hassan is the next United States Senator from New Hampshire.”
Ayotte has not conceded.
“This has been a closely contested race from the beginning and we look forward to results being announced by the Secretary of State, and ensuring that every vote is counted in this race that has received an historic level of interest,” Ayotte spokeswoman Liz Johnson tells the AP.
Hassan, a Boston native who has served as New Hampshire’s governor since 2012, spent much of her campaign hammering Ayotte over her months-long dance with Donald Trump. Ayotte had struggled to explain her position on the candidate—once referring to him as a “role model“—before ultimately saying she wouldn’t vote for him.
The whole ordeal was easy fodder for attack ads, and the Hassan campaign did just that—running TV spots that linked Ayotte to Trump and sampled clips from that bombshell tape.
The race remained just as close after the Trump disavowal as it was before. A WMUR poll showed Hassan leading on October 20, then a WBZ/UMass poll October 25 showed Ayotte had a slight lead. Those Ayotte-Trump ads may have backfired. That same WBZ/UMass poll showed 46 percent of voters found Hassan’s campaign to be the more negative of the two, while 31 percent said so of Ayotte.
Of course, to the surprise of many, Trump went on to win the presidency, declaring victory in a speech in the early hours of Wednesday morning. It was not yet clear by noon on Wednesday whether Trump would win New Hampshire, although with just a few thousand votes remaining to be counted, it appeared the Democrats had just barely won the state.
The race between Hassan and Ayotte was always going to be a tough one. Early on, the contest emerged as one of the tightest and closest-watched in the nation this season, with control of the Senate at stake.
Without a seat to defend at home, Massachusetts Democrats spent the past few months lending a hand across state lines, among them U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Attorney General Maura Healey, and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. Hillary Clinton supported Hassan during a late-October campaign stop in Manchester.
Hassan will be replaced as governor by Republican Chris Sununu, who beat Democrat Colin van Ostern. At 42, Sununu will be the youngest governor in the nation. He graduated from MIT in 1998.