New Hampshire: Spots Of Red In Blue New England

The very blue region of New England has stayed mostly blue — except for in New Hampshire, where GOP candidates won the race for Senate and picked up seats in the House.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Let's come back East again. The very blue region of New England stayed mostly blue yesterday, except for New Hampshire. There, Republican candidates won the race for Senate and picked up two seats in Congress.

NPR's Tovia Smith reports.

TOVIA SMITH: Senate candidate Kelly Ayotte, dubbed one of the first mama grizzlies by Sarah Palin, says her victory over Democratic Congressman Paul Hodes sends Washington a message to change its big-spending ways.

Senator-elect KELLY AYOTTE (Republican, New Hampshire): The people of New Hampshire have spoken. We are taking our country back.

(Soundbite of applause, cheering)

SMITH: It was an exact reversal of the wave that swept Democrats into office four years ago. Last night, Republican Mayor Frank Guinta beat Democratic incumbent Carol Shea-Porter, and former GOP Congressman Charlie Bass reclaimed the seat he had lost.

Representative-elect CHARLIE BASS (Republican, New Hampshire): I think the voters of this state experimented with hope and change, and after four years of it, have decided that what New Hampshire has been for 234 years may be better.

SMITH: Indeed, many independent voters, like 68-year-old Mary McCaffrey(ph) from Concord, voted a straight Republican ticket.

Ms. MARY McCAFFREY: I went protest vote. In other words: Guys, wake up. I have to live on a budget. You're going to learn to live on a budget. And I'm just disgusted with it.

SMITH: Democratic Governor John Lynch managed to survive the anti-incumbent groundswell. He was re-elected to a fourth term, and remains popular - in part, some say - because he's made and kept a no-tax pledge.

Tovia Smith, NPR News, Concord, New Hampshire.

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