Shaheen ousts Sununu
By RYAN GRIM | 11/4/08 9:14 PM EST Text Size:
Jeanne Shaheen, the former governor of New Hampshire, is on her way to Washington, having ousted Sen. John Sununu. Sununu is a well-liked, two-term Republican and the son of a popular politician, but a Republican nonetheless – a fact that may have been his undoing this year.
Barack Obama appears to have carried New Hampshire’s electoral votes, and Shaheen clearly benefited by being down ticket from him. Sununu, meanwhile, was hoping that John McCain’s popularity in the maverick-minded New Hampshire would at least neutralize the deep unpopularity of the sitting president.
Sununu had been considered an underdog for months and was further damaged during the economic crisis and the debate over the bailout. He was forced to vote on the measure – and decided to vote yes – while Shaheen had the luxury of commenting on it from the campaign trail.
During a debate in the midst of the midst of bailout negotiations, Shaheen said she agreed that something needed to be done, but that she’d vote against the bailout – a popular position with the public.
Shaheen lost to Sununu in 2002 by four points in a year with a much more favorable climate for the GOP.
Democrats were counting on a Shaheen to help them edge closer to 60 seats in the Senate.
Shaheen, as governor, angered anti-tax advocates in her state when she signed a property tax into law – the first statewide tax enacted in New Hampshire. The state has gradually been drifting blue as more and more Massachusetts residents migrate to New Hampshire and bring with them their traditional voting patterns – and lack of enmity toward taxation.