Friday, October 24, 2008

Senate Races: New Hampshire

(posted at my blog a few days ago, sharing with you guys)

Like everyone else, I've been wrapped up in the presidential election. Pennsylvania doesn't have a governor's or Senate race this year, and Philly is such a Democratic lock that the primaries back in the spring pretty much decided who the state reps will be. If I get outside of Philly I see Patrick Murphy signs everywhere (which make me happy), but I've realized how little attention I've been paying to some of the really fun congressional races this weekend when I was in New Hampshire.

In addition to the Obama signs (and yes, McCain/Palin signs), I saw loads of bright green Jeanne Shaheen signs. Jeanne Shaheen is the former 3-term Democratic governor of New Hampshire and she's challenging John Sununu for the Senate. She would become New Hampshire's first woman senator.

Emily's List has a rundown on Shaheen on the issues. Opposed to the Iraq war, pro-choice--those should be enough for any of us, right? But Shaheen is also a former public school teacher, committed to public education, and lost the Senate race to Sununu back in 2002 by only 19,000 votes. In addition, Democratic GOTV phone banks were jammed by Republican operatives on election day--two were convicted and served jail time.

Sununu is an old familiar name in New Hampshire--John Sununu Sr. was governor. The current Sununu is an anti-choice hawk who has taken tons of money from oil companies (no surprise there, right?)

Plus, Jeanne Shaheen is a fun name to say.

New Hampshire is close to my heart--as I stated below, a lot of my family still lives there and every time I go to visit, I obsess over its beauty and small-town-USA perfection. The tiny downtown where my grandmother lives has a Thai restaurant, a coffee shop, and the best used bookstore (also with an amazing selection of records) that I've ever been to. I don't go there without coming back with gems: bell hooks, this time, and this book as well. Couple that with a train station and a Dunkin' Donuts, and I'm good to go. If the town were a little less white, it'd be heaven.

The "live free or die" state has been a swing state for a while now, and that's part of the reason I love it. I actually adore the fact that a McCain sign is next door to an Obama sign, and the division between neighbors isn't ethnic or income-based. I like that New Hampshirites take their early primary seriously, and even though as Jon Stewart pointed out, they're "cold white people," they care about voting.

So Jeanne Shaheen's lead in the polls makes me happy. And I hope it grows, and that she heads off to the Senate in January.