Campaign Countdown: New Hampshire Senate race
Familiar face vs. newcomer
WEST LEBANON, N.H. (WCAX) - If Democrats want to regain control of the United States Senate, they will most certainly have to retain the seats they already have. That includes the one currently held by New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. Her opponent is a new face in Granite State politics.
Shaheen is well known in New Hampshire. The former governor is running for her third term in the U.S. Senate. Her opponent, Bryant “Corky” Messner, only recently moved to the state full time. It’s up to the voters to decide which candidate will best represent them in Washington.
“I have worked my entire career to make a difference for the people of this state, that is what I want to continue to do,” said Shaheen, D-New Hampshire.
As the Democrat campaigned in Manchester with Kamala Harris' husband, she said dealing with the pandemic is her top priority.
“More testing and contact tracing, it means a consistent message out of the White House and the top levels of government, it means continuing to invest in a vaccine,” Shaheen said.
In North Conway, the Republican in the race introduced himself to voters while stumping with Donald Trump Jr.
“I grew up in a blue-collar family. I went to West Point, I graduated from West Point, I’m a veteran and I’ve had a very successful business career,” said Messner, Republican for U.S. Senate.
Messner says he’s running for the Senate because the Granite State needs a change. He says Shaheen is part of the “swamp” in Washington, D.C.
“That is why we call her ‘D.C. Jeanne Shaheen’ and her voting record proves that. She votes with the Democrats 97% of the time, more that Bernie Sanders,” Messner said.
Policies aside, voters have a clear choice. On one hand, there’s a Colorado transplant with very little political experience. On the other, a career public servant whose work spans from the state Legislature in Concord to the halls of Congress. Shaheen brushes off the criticism that she’s been in Washington too long.
“For somebody who came to New Hampshire two years ago to run for the Senate, who clearly doesn’t know this state and its people, it’s ironic that he would make that accusation,” she said.
Messner says it’s more about where you are headed than where you have been.
“I love it here, I choose to live here, I’m one of the 60% that were not born here and I will be here forever,” he said.
Looking forward, the control of the U.S. Senate hangs in the balance. The quick confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, which Shaheen opposed, speaks to the power wielded by the majority party. Shaheen says it time for Democrats to regain that control. Her re-election would be a crucial step.
“We have a very long agenda that we need to address and it is not going to get done with Donald Trump in the White House and Mitch McConnell as majority leader,” Shaheen said.
Messner says Justice Barrett was a great choice. Though he says he is focused on winning over voters in the middle.
“I will be an independent U.S. senator and I will stand up to both Republicans and Democrats,” he said.
Independents make up the largest voting block in New Hampshire and record turnout is expected this election cycle. Some 225,000 absentee ballots alone were sent out for the general election and the vast majority of them have already been mailed back.
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