NOV. 5: 1 a.m.:
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen won a second term in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday after late returns showed her pulling away from Republican former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, who had fallen far behind in early returns but then battled, briefly, to a tie.
The 67-year-old former three-term governor, and a grandmother of seven, was declared the winner very soon after the polls closed at 8 p.m. as she built a large lead based on returns from Manchester and other Democratic strongholds. Later returns closed the gap and reminded some political veterans of 1996, when Democrat Dick Swett was declared the winner only to end up being defeated by then-Sen. Bob Smith.
But as returns continued to pour in, Shaheen’s lead widened again, and Brown called her shortly before midnight to concede and congratulate her.
With 87 percent of the vote counted, Shaheen had a 14,000-vote lead, 52 to 48 percent.
Shaheen will be in the minority in the Senate beginning in January, however, as Republicans were projected to pick up at least seven seats, moving to at least a 52 to 48 majority.
In Manchester, as supporters chanted, “I believe in Jeanne Shaheen,” a jubilant soon-to-be second term senator thanked New Hampshire and said Granite Staters “chose to put New Hampshire first.”
“I promise I will work with everyone in the Senate — Democrats, Republicans, independents _ to get things done to help New Hampshire’s working families and our small businesses.
“With the new term you’ve given me, I will fight to make sure students can refinance their loans,” Shaheen said. “I will fight for a smart energy policy that focuses on efficiencies and new energy technologies, to end our reliance on oil and coal and fossil fuel.”
She also promised to fight for a minimum wage “that ensures that no one working 40 hours a week is stuck living in poverty. And I will fight for equal pay for equal work for women.”
Shaheen promised to “fight for smart, serious national security policies that keep us safe. And I will always fight for a woman’ws right to make her own health care decisions. And I will fight to make sure that everyone in New Hampshire has access to quality, affordable health care.”
Brown told backers, “As a new candidate for office here, I’m so thankful to the people who were willing to give me a shot to try to help make this a better state. I feel like a lucky man to live in this great state and call it home.”
He explained that when he called Shaheen, there were still about 45,000 outstanding, “but it’s clear that the areas that are coming in are not going to make up the votes that we need.”
But he said, “One thing has come true. Harry Reid is the minority leader. So it was a good night for America….We will have better days. The Senate has returned to being Republican. The House is Republican.”
(Our earlier reports follow.)
NOV. 4: 11:50 p.m.
Scott Brown has just called Sen. Jeanne Shaheen to concede the U.S. Senate race, realizing that her widening lead was impossible to overcome with the small number of GOP communities outstanding.
After taking a wide lead in early returns, the race tightened to a tie, but late tonight, Shaheen moved out to an insurmountable advantage.
NOV. 4 — 11:15 pm.
About two hours after ABC and the Associated Press called the U.S. Senate race for Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, the race has now closed to a tie.
Early returns had Shaheen far ahead of former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown tonight, on her way to winning a second term, after serving three terms as governor.
ABC News called Shaheen the winner before 9 p.m., less than an hour after the all of the polls had closed in New Hampshire. The Associated Press quickly followed. At that point just more than 20 percent of the vote had been counted.
Shaheen was among 10 Democratic incumbents viewed as key to swinging the balance of power in the U.S. Senate from Democratic to Republican.
But now, with 72 percent of the vote counted, Shaheen was leading Brown by only 2,000 votes — at 50 percent each.
The results are reminiscent of 1996, when networks called the New Hampshire U.S. Senate race for Democrat Dick Swett, only to have Republican Sen. Bob Smith pull it out as late returns trickled in.
Shaheen won in the Democratic stronghold of Concord, 10,285 to 5,109. In Manchester, with 11 of 12 wards reporting Shaheen led, 15,463 to 13,082. She won in Exeter, 3,885 to 2,641.
Shaheen won in Nashua, 14,069 to 12,368.
Shaheen defeated Brown in Manchester’s Ward 1 – 2,142 to 1,867.
Brown won the city’s Ward 8, 1,723 to 1,588; but Shaheen won in Ward 12 by 1,274 to 1,169. Brown won in Manchester Ward 6, 1,162 to 1,604, but Shaheen won in Ward 11, 978 to 741. In Ward 4, it was Shaheen, 1,156 and Brown 815, and in Ward 9 Sahheen won, 1,496 and Brown, 1,092.
Brown defeated Shaheen in the GOP strongholds of Bedford, 5,919 to 3,588, and Candia, 1,097 to 739, but in the Upper Valley, generally Democratic territory, Shaheen won Lebanon, 3,328 to 1,380.
In other towns, Brown won in Newbury, 526 to 517, while in Newmarket, Shaheen won, 2,192 to 1,328. In Bristol, Brown won, 586 to 539, while in the North Country town of Milan, it was Shaheen 298, Brown, 193.
In Hillsborough, Shaheen defeated Brown, 985 to 856, while in Seabrook, Brown won, 1,635 to 1,021.
Brown also won in New Boston, 1,287 to 1,071; and in Moultonboro, 1,419 to 942. But Hopkinton went to Shaheen, 1,877 to 1,095.
(Our earlier report, with a recap of the campaign, follows.)
TUESDAY, NOV. 4; 2 p.m.
Republican Scott Brown was looking for the second major upset of his political career today as the Massachusetts transplant took on a New Hampshire Democratic icon, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, the first woman in U.S. history to serve as a governor and a senator.
The Brown-Shaheen race is one of 10 being closely watched nationally as Republican try to take back majority control of the Senate, now controlled, 55 to 45, by the Democrats.
Brown, 55, shocked the political world by beating Martha Coakley in a 2010 special election for the seat held by the late Ted Kennedy, only to lose to Elizabeth Warren in 2012. Now he looks to defeat another woman – and if he doesn‘t, he will be the first Senate candidate to lose to two women in two states.
Stressing that he was born in the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and that he spent much of his childhood on New Hampshire’ Seacoast, Brown and his wife Gail moved from Wrentham, Mass., full-time to their summer home in Rye late last year.
It quickly became clear that he intended to take on the former three-term governor and Senate freshman Shaheen. He did not formally become a candidate until the spring – and the Senate race has been at the top of the state’s political agenda ever since.
Even though he had a primary battle against former Sen. Bob Smith and former state Sen. Jim Rubens, Brown kept his focus on Shaheen throughout the summer. And she kept her focus on him.
Brown painted Shaheen as a rubber stamp for the unpopular President Obama, and for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Shaheen, 67, stressed her deep roots in, and familiarity with, the state – having lived here since 1973. She portrayed Brown as an opportunistic tool of “Big Oil,” the conservative billionaire Koch brothers and Wall Street, who, after losing in Massachusetts, went office-shopping and conveniently decided on New Hampshire.
She repeatedly declared that New Hampshire should not be anyone’s “consolation prize.”
It was also the most expensive race in state history when both candidates an outside spending are counted.
Besides candidate spending totaling about $7 million by Brown and about $13 million by Shaheen, outside special interest spending on the race was about $30 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics’ OpenSecrets.org. One study showed there were more than 17,000 television ad aired, most – though not all — of them negative.
According to the CRP, spending has totaled $3.6 million in favor of Brown and $13.8 million to oppose him. Outside spending in favor of Shaheen has totaled $1.2 million, and $9.9 million against her.
As the returns roll in tonight, all eyes will be on key swing areas of the state, and on key areas that have been the strongholds of each party.
Manchester, for instance, with his mostly Democratic registration, should go to Shaheen, but the key will be by how much. A close battle there by Brown could forecast a long night for the incumbent.
Shaheen lost the City of Manchester by about 2,500 votes in 2002 on her way to losing to John E. Sununu, but then won it easily in 2008 as part of the Obama-led Democratic sweep.
Nashua is usually very late with its returns and could play a huge role in the outcome. It is a mostly Democratic city, but its location on the Massachusetts border has made it a target for the Brown forces. It is also the home of Brown’s most influential supporter, Sen. Kelly Ayotte.
Brown is expected to, and must, do well throughout the area of the southern tier nearest to the Bay State, in GOP communities, such as Salem, Hudson, Windham, Pelham and Londonderry.
Shaheen should be strong in Portsmouth, and of course in the Dover-Durham area near her Madbury home, while Brown should do well in his hometown, Rye, which is a Republican stronghold, as well North Hampton and Hampton Falls.
The Rochester area should be a bellwether. It went to Sununu by a close margin in 2002, but to Shaheen easily in 2008.
Shaheen is expected to be strong in Concord and Hopkinton, the Upper Valley, Keene and much of Cheshire County, as well as the northern part of the state, including the North Country itself.
Brown must do well in most of the Lakes Region, and back in the southern part of the state, he must rack up victories in the Manchester suburbs, such as Bedford, Goffstown, Auburn, Candia and Hooksett.
Derry, while mostly Republican, is also a good barometer for how the voting will go. In 2002, Sununu defeated Shaheen there by 1,100 votes on his way to victory, but in 2008, Sununu’s win in Derry was a mere 130 votes.
Many will be comparing tonight’s results to 2010, when Ayotte handily defeated then U.S. Rep. Paul Hodes as part of a GOP mid-term sweep. But given Shaheen’s strength in the state and Brown being a relative newcomer, the two races are not nearly commensurate.
Ayotte, after all, won that race, 60 to 36 percent.