Tuesday night’s election results echoed a trend seen throughout American history — in a poor economy the challengers win.
Political pundits rightly predicted Republican wins in House and Senate races across the country, including New Hampshire, and linked the results to voter frustration with near double-digit unemployment and disapproval over President Barack Obama’s job performance.
Yet, even the results for races for our State House and Senate expose a similar trend — when voters are frustrated with the incumbent party’s performance on a national level, that party’s candidates for state office suffer as well.
With the exception of John Lynch’s win, New Hampshire became a red state again in 2010, with results of state House, Senate and Executive Council elections indicating that.
Even though candidates in these races never voted for Obamacare, the Wall Street or automaker bailouts, or anything else that may have angered the American voter this year, they paid the price at the ballot box.
Voters are frustrated with Democratic policies, and Democrats in New Hampshire were on the line — state legislature or executive council candidates included.
This is not the first time in recent history that an incumbent party lost seats in the state legislature amidst voter concern over the national scene. The Granite State became blue in 2006, a time Americans were gravely concerned over Republican handling of American foreign policy in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Republicans became very unpopular nationally and as a result their popularity in the state suffered. Republicans like Charlie Bass in District 2 (who just won back the seat this year) and Jeb Bradley in District 1 (who became a State Senator in 2009) were ousted from the U.S. House, and the state House and Senate shifted into Democratic hands.
In 2008, the Democrats were able to maintain control in the state legislature. Voters were hungry for a change. As the economy was sagging both in the Granite State and across the country, voters were eager to embrace the Democrats’ vision for recovery.
Whereas prominent Democratic politicians fell across the country this year, as of this writing some more well known names in the state legislature were heading for defeat as well. In the District 24 State Senate race, Democratic incumbent Martha Fuller Clark, who has held the seat since 2002 after serving 12 years in the state House, looked like she would lose to Republican challenger Nancy Stiles. In District 20, six-term incumbent Lou D’Allesandro was on his way to being beaten by Joseph Levasseur.
The Executive Council will be a unanimously Republican body, with all five seats headed for GOP control.
It also looks as if the state House of Representatives will also be in Republican hands when all votes are in.
Tuesday night was big for Republicans across the country and in the Granite State as well, all due to feelings of the American voter.