Nov 4, 2014 11:12 AM
Paul Steinhauser: Brown, Shaheen cast ballots on Election Day in NH
NH1 Political Director - NH1.com
CONCORD - The campaigning's over.
Now it's time for New Hampshire voters to vote.
In the state's crucial U.S. Senate race, Republican challenger Scott Brown voted Tuesday at the elementary school in Rye.
"We've left everything on the field, using a sports analogy. We've done everything we could possibly do and win or lose I'm very proud of our team, very proud of how our family stuck together. I appreciate Sen. Shaheen's effort as well . It was a spirited battle and I'm looking forward to hearing the results," Brown told reporters after he voted.
Brown served three years as a senator from Massachusetts. Late last year he moved to New Hampshire, where he spent parts of his childhood and has long owned a vacation home, and in April formally launched a GOP campaign for the Senate.
Shaheen, the former three-term governor who's running for another six years in the Senate, voted with her family in her home town of Madbury. After casting ballots, the Shaheen clan posed for a photograph.
"It was wonderful to have my grandson with me in the voting booth," Shaheen said.
"It's really exciting to have the whole family here."
Last minute pitches
Both candidates are spending Election Day traveling to polling stations, as they make one final push for votes.
Brown and former Rep. Frank Guinta, the GOP nominee in the 1st Congressional District, visited a Strafford County Republican office, making last minute calls to voters.
"I've already made around 100 calls, I've got sheets here that I'm going to continue to call," Brown told GOP activists.
"We always knew this was going to be a close race. We spent the last weeks and months pointing out the differences between me and Scott Brown," Shaheen told reporters after voting. "I think the voters will look today who's going to represent New Hampshire, put New Hampshire first, versus somebody who's not been here, who doesn't know the state."
"We trying to get every vote, we want to make sure that every supporter who's said they're going to support me, gets out to the polls," she added.
The two final public opinion surveys before Election Day indicated the Senate contest was deadlocked.
According to an NH1 Poll by New England College, Brown was at 49% and Shaheen at 48% among likely voters. And a WMUR survey by the University of New Hampshire had the numbers reversed, with Shaheen at 49% and Brown at 48%. Both margins were well within the polls' sampling errors, meaning the race is a dead heat.
With the race a dead heat, turnout will be crucial. New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner predicted a couple of days ago that 464,000 voters will go to the polls. That's just under 54% of the state's 864,817 registered voters. During the last midterm election, in 2010, 461,423 voters cast a ballot.
Gardner also predicted that 24,000 people would take advantage of New Hampshire's Election Day registration. In the 2012 presidential election, which had a much larger electorate, 99,000 registered to vote on Election Day.
The Granite State Senate race is one of about a dozen nationwide that will determine whether the Democrats keep control of the chamber. Democrats currently have a 55-45 majority in the Senate (53 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the party) but are defending 21 of the 36 seats up for grabs on Election Day. And about half of those seats are in red or purple states, like New Hampshire.
Battle for governor
Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan voted in her hometown of Exeter. She's facing off against Republican challenger and first time candidate Walt Havenstein. The NH1/NEC poll indicates Hassan with a seven point advantage, while the WMUR/UNH survey suggests the race is tied up. Hassan made a final pitch for voters.
"I think that New Hampshire voters take elections very, very seriously and I think this has been a vigorous election but I think the choice is very clear," Hassan said.
"I'm just encouraging everyone to get out and vote and if people don't have an ID, they should know that they can register at their polling place and they can sign an affidavit and still be able to vote. Really important get out and exercise your right to vote."
Havenstein voted in his hometown of Alton. He joined Hassan in making a last minute pitch, telling reporters that "I encourage everybody to get out and vote, and vote for Walt Havenstein."