Ayotte and Hassan Battle for Senate Seat


The Senate race between Senator Kelly Ayotte and Governor Maggie Hassan has been close for a year, and it’s still close just hours away from Election Day.

The University of New Hampshire Survey Center released its final Granite State Poll Monday, putting Hassan with a five point lead over Ayotte.

Dr. Andrew Smith is with the UNH Survey Center.

“It’s certainly one of the most expensive seats in the country and the most expensive in New Hampshire history. It looks that there will be more than $100 million dollars spent on this seat because control of the Senate could very well hinge on who wins this seat,” said Smith.

Smith said he expects about 720,000 Granite Staters to vote Tuesday. It could mean upwards of $100 per vote.

He adds the state will likely go blue this election year.

“Donald Trump just has never really caught on with Republicans here and it’s a state that leans democratic. We’re seeing about a ten point lead, and that translates down to the senate race,” said Smith.

Back in August, the Republican presidential nominee made several endorsements, including Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, Senator John McCain and the incumbent senator.

“I also fully support and endorse, Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, a state I truly love, primarily because it was my first victory, but I love New Hampshire,” said Trump during an August rally.

Though she won’t endorse the Republican presidential nominee, Ayotte said earlier in the year she would lend him her support on Election Day.

“I’ve actually said that I’m going to be voting for him, but I do have significant disagreements with him that I have been very clear on. So I won’t be endorsing him. So that’s my position,” said Ayotte.

But, the senator changed her mind last month after Mr. Trump’s comments about sexual assault were made public. She said she would write in his running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, instead.

Smith says in a state with more Democrats than Republicans, Trump and Ayotte will need to win 95 to 100 percent of GOP voters Tuesday.

“The Democrats can afford to maybe not get all of the democratic votes that are out there,” said Smith.

Smith adds if Hassan loses, it may mean she’s out of the politics game- for now. The Granite State Poll also projects democratic candidate Colin Van Ostern will be New Hampshire’s next governor. Should he win, Smith says he would likely not step down if Hassan decided to run for re-election in 2018.

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