Monday, October 10, 2016

VOTE 2016 - Control of the Senate

"Why Senate control could ride on this tight New Hampshire race" PBS NewsHour 10/3/2016


SUMMARY:  In New Hampshire, a high-profile contest is drawing outsized attention and outside money due to its stakes in shaping the Senate.  Republican incumbent Sen.  Kelly Ayotte and Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan, both well-respected and popular political figures in their state, are running a neck-and-neck race while keeping the presidential candidates at an arm's length.  Lisa Desjardins reports.

LISA DESJARDINS (NewsHour):  The start of fall in New Hampshire.  Along with the changing leaves this year, the Granite State is home to something else special, a contest between two respected and popular Senate candidates.

Republican U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte, out gathering votes at an apple festival this weekend, is defending her seat.  Democratic Governor Maggie Hassan, rallying volunteers, is hoping to win it.  Polls show it is a toss-up race, a sharp partisan fight, even as both brandish they are not.

GOV.  MAGGIE HASSAN, Democratic Senate Candidate:  We passed a bipartisan Medicaid expansion program.  We froze in-state tuition at our university system, and actually lowered it at our community colleges.

SEN.  KELLY AYOTTE, Republican Senate Candidate:  I have one of the most bipartisan records in the Senate.  I have certainly been called a problem-solver by the independent group No Labels, who I have worked with.

LISA DESJARDINS:  Both are former lawyers, both known for their work ethic.  Neither is flashy.  But Hassan charges Ayotte is too conservative for the state, in lockstep with the GOP on defunding Planned Parenthood, overturning Roe vs. Wade, and on guns.

GOV.  MAGGIE HASSAN:  Whether it's standing with the gun lobby, rather than expanding background checks so that terrorists can't get guns online and at gun shows, or whether it's standing against a woman's right to make her own health care decisions, those decisions of Senator Ayotte, her positions and her votes, really have pulled us backwards.

LISA DESJARDINS:  Ayotte stands by her position to ban most abortions as a matter of faith, adding she supports access to more contraception.  She attacks Hassan on taxes, a core issue here.

SEN.  KELLY AYOTTE:  In terms of taxes, I'm someone who focuses on low taxes, a better tax climate for individuals and small businesses.  She has long record of increasing taxes, not only on small businesses, but on campgrounds, registration fees, on the people of New Hampshire.

LISA DESJARDINS:  Hassan's tax record is complicated.  She cut taxes for some, but raised them for others, citing urgent needs like fighting the opioid crisis.

Meanwhile, both candidates are keeping their party's presidential nominees at arm's length.  Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were both in New Hampshire last week, but neither Hassan nor Ayotte joined them on stage.  Ayotte has said she's voting for Trump, but not endorsing him.

But how do the important people, the voters, see this?

Jim Jalbert runs a thriving family-owned bus company, C&J Bus, in Portsmouth.  Jalbert is a registered Republican who doesn't like Trump.  But between Ayotte and Hassan:

JIM JALBERT, C&J Bus Lines:  If you look at the two of them, they're both really good people.

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