New Hampshire Democrats landed their dream candidate on Monday, as current Governor Maggie Hassan announced that she will run for U.S. Senate and attempt to unseat Senator Kelly Ayotte (R). Hassan joins an already strong Democratic recruiting class, which includes a diverse slate of outstanding female candidates set to reshape the Senate after the 2016 elections.
Hassan joins Congresswomen Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ), Loretta Sanchez (CA) Tammy Duckworth (IL) Donna Edwards (MD) and state Attorney General’s Kamala Harris (CA) and Catherine Cortez Masto (NV) in the diverse class of 2016. Her entry into the New Hampshire race immediately vaults the race into toss-up status, making it a prime pick up opportunity for the Democrats as they seek to regain control of the U.S. Senate.
Public Policy Polling (PPP) tested a hypothetical race between Ayotte and Hassan in August of 2015, and found it to be a virtual tie, with Ayotte polling 44 percent and Hassan polling 43 percent. The two-term Governor has room to grow, however, as she sported a positive 48/42 approval rating in the August survey, while Senator Kelly Ayotte was unpopular with a 38/46 favorable to unfavorable mark.
Unable to assail her record or her character, Republicans reacted to Hassan’s announcement with inane talking points. National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesperson Andrea Bozek responded with an unoriginal attack, dusting off a few shopworn GOP cliches, stating:
Governor Gridlock Maggie Hassan has failed to move New Hampshire forward – and now she wants to take her resume of partisan gridlock to Washington as Harry Reid’s hand-picked Senate candidate.
Such weak Republican jabs at Hassan aren’t likely to do much damage, as New Hampshire voters just re-elected Hassan Governor in 2014. She continues to enjoy positive approval numbers from grateful Granite State voters. Hassan’s entry into the race gives Democrats a solid opportunity to replace Kelly Ayotte in Washington, not to mention improving the Democrats’ odds of winning back control of the U.S. Senate.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.