NEW HAVEN, N.H. — New Hampshire voters approved a second term for Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte on Tuesday, taking her to a narrow margin over Democrat Jeanne Shaheen in a tight race for the Senate seat she held for six years.
Ayotte, a former president of the New Hampshire Conference of the United States Chamber of Commerce, has held the seat since 2010.
Shaheen, a retired Marine Corps colonel, is a first-term Democratic senator from a state she has never represented.
She has a long history of working with Ayotte and has said she would consider running for president in 2020.
But the race is closely watched by both sides of the aisle as a test of whether the Democratic Party can recapture control of the Senate, and if a Republican-led House can prevent Trump from getting a second full term.
Both candidates were greeted by thousands of people who showed up to cast their ballots.
In the first round, Shaheens supporters outnumber Ayotte’s supporters by about 3 to 1.
In the second, the margin shrinks to less than 1.
Shannon Stapleton, a local resident who helped with the election effort, said she is very happy for Ayotte, who has done her best to get the message out to voters.
She said she supports the Senate Republicans’ position on climate change, and wants the president to be held accountable.
“This is what we’re talking about here,” she said.
“She’s done a lot for the environment and we’re proud of her for it.
The election was close, but there were some early signs that it was close enough that it could be called. “
She’s always done the right thing for the country and I’m very proud to vote for her.”
The election was close, but there were some early signs that it was close enough that it could be called.
In one of the early polls, Shahes edge over Ayotte was just shy of 4 percentage points.
That was not enough to sway most of the precincts in the heavily Democratic town of Chimney Hill, where the two campaigns held their first rallies.
That was when Shahees supporters made their case for her and the message they were putting out there.
“We are not here to talk about politics,” she told the crowd, referring to the fact that she is a former first lady, senator and president.
“We are here to show the country that we are here and we are fighting for what we believe in.
We are here for our future, and we know it.”
She went on to talk up the Senate’s historic passage of the American Health Care Act, which she said helped bring down the cost of health care.
“You know how we’ve been saying for decades: It’s not enough that we get health care for everybody.
We have to make it accessible, affordable and quality for everybody,” she added.
“It’s a lot to ask.
But it’s not too late to get it done.”
Shahes campaign pointed to the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, which voted last week to repeal Obamacare, a key issue for her.
“What we need to do is get this done in a bipartisan way, so that we can get to a balanced budget and create good jobs,” she explained.
“That’s the only way we can keep our country going.
That’s why we need Democrats in the Senate.”
But she added that she and her supporters will be watching closely for signs that the White House is planning to take action on climate issues, and that the administration is moving aggressively to pass legislation to combat the Zika virus.
“The administration has been making the case for climate change,” she noted.
“They’re moving forward on that and we’ll see if they do.”