N.H. election could shift U.S. Senate power balance

With state races and the balance of power in Washington at stake, New Hampshire could see a record turnout for a midterm election.

Secretary of State Bill Gardner told the Associated Press on Tuesday that raw data from polling places shows that the state could see “the highest number of voters in a midterm election.”

Three Democrats were trying to hold onto their seats in Washington on Tuesday. U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat seeking a second term, faced Republican Scott Brown, who moved to New Hampshire last year after losing his U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts.

In the 1st District, Democratic U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter was facing a challenge from Republican Frank Guinta. Shea-Porter was first elected in 2006, was ousted by Guinta in 2010 and regained the seat in 2012. In the 2nd District, Democratic U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster was seeking a second term against GOP state Rep. Marilinda Garcia.

The governor’s office and the 424-member Legislature also were up for grabs. Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan, hoping to win a second term, faced a challenge from Republican Walt Havenstein.

All the candidates spent Monday rallying supporters and reaching out to undecided voters, hitting a lot of restaurants but having little time to eat.

Shaheen, a former state senator and governor, has been contrasting her decades of public service in the state to Brown’s recent arrival, while he has emphasized how often she votes with President Barack Obama. Shaheen denies that her fortunes rise and fall with the president.

On Monday, Brown joined Havenstein and Garcia on a bus tour that took them from Keene to Newport, Sunapee and New London. He told voters that they had just hours left to change the direction of the country, re-establish the New Hampshire advantage and restore America.

Polls began opening as early at 6 a.m. across the state and, depending on location, will remain open until 7 or 8 p.m.