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Posted at 2:36 p.m. on Oct. 31, 2013
New Hampshire could have two competitive contests next year, but the gubernatorial race isn’t likely to be one of them.
Republicans are focused on unseating Reps. Carol Shea-Porter and Ann McLane Kuster, in part because Gov. Maggie Hassan is still enjoying good job ratings, even though the Democrat hasn’t finished a year in office.
The Granite State elects a governor every two years, so Hassan is up for a second term even though she was just elected in 2012 with 55 percent. Republican state Rep. George Lambert, but party strategists on both sides of the aisle don’t give him much of a chance.
Some of potentially stronger GOP candidates might be waiting until 2016, when Hassan could leave the governorship to challenge Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte. A Hassan Senate bid would leave an open seat, which is usually a more attractive target than challenging an incumbent. (My colleague Abby Livingston just wrote about the GOP jockeying in the state for Roll Call’s Farm Team series.)
If the national environment turns dramatically against President Barack Obama and the Democrats, New Hampshire could be prone to a wide-spread GOP comeback up and down the ballot. But there isn’t evidence of that happening, at least at this point.