Profile pictures of US Senate New Hampshire candidates Maggie Hassan and Don Bolduc from BallotPedia

Welcome to the race for the US Senate seat for New Hampshire! This race pits the incumbent Maggie Hassan, a Democrat who has served in the US Senate since 2017 (and previously served as the governor), against the challenger Don Bolduc, a Republican and retired army general. 

New Hampshire’s license plates read, “Live Free or Die,” and that motto helps us understand the independent streak of New Hampshire voters. From 1948 to 1988, New Hampshire voted solidly Republican for the US presidential elections, with the only exception being the rejection of ultra-conservative Barry Goldwater in 1964. Bill Clinton’s election in 1992 ushered in the current era of Democratic voting for New Hampshire, with the only exception in 2000 when New Hampshire voted for George W. Bush (although the 2016 election results went for Hillary Clinton by less than 1%). Yet on state and local levels, New Hampshire voters often split their tickets by voting for individuals, not parties. With a popular Republican governor, Chris Sununu, seeking reelection this year, the question is whether New Hampshire voters will continue to split their tickets to support both the incumbent governor and the incumbent Democratic senator, Maggie Hassan, or vote party-line. Adding to the intrigue is that the Democratic Party ran ads against the more moderate Republican challenger, Chuck Morse, betting that Don Bolduc’s extremism would help Hassan win reelection.      

An important note for this election season: Traditionally, the “party in power,” defined as the party in charge of the US presidency (which this year is the Democratic Party), loses seats in the midterm elections. But the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade in June 2022 has shifted momentum toward the Democrats (see 538 and NYT analysis at these links). The race in New Hampshire is one of the top nine Senate races to watch in the 2022 election, and its outcome will help determine which party controls the US Senate in January 2023.  



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Relevant news stories:

  • Article: “New Hampshire Is Tiny And Pretty Weird. That Could Help Maggie Hassan,” FiveThirtyEight, July 22, 2022
  • Article: “N.H. Republicans damage Senate chances in rough primary,” Politico, August 22, 2022
  • Article: “Both Parties Flood New Hampshire With Ads About the Same Senate Candidate,” New York Times, September 2, 2022
  • Article: “In New Hampshire, an Intraparty G.O.P. Fight for the Senate Intensifies,” New York Times, September 12, 2022
  • Article: “Bolduc Wins New Hampshire Senate Primary, Realizing G.O.P. Fears,” New York Times, September 14, 2022
  • Article: “NH Republican Don Bolduc pivots on 15-week abortion ban. Sen. Hassan seizes on issue,” Associated Press, September 14, 2022
  • Podcast: “What the state primary results mean for the general election,” New Hampshire Public Radio, September 16, 2022
  • Article: “On the trail: Bolduc makes U-turn on key issues,” Concord Monitor, September 17, 2022