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Democrats have sought to tie Bass to national conservatives, but he has long cultivated a reputation as a New England moderate who frustrates some in the party.
Some Democrats blame Kuster’s 2010 loss on now-Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) and her 23-point victory over then-Rep. Paul Hodes (D). Not everyone agrees with that theory, but the calculation was that Ayotte’s coattails propelled Bass and sunk Kuster.
Ayotte is not on the ballot this year, but President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney are.
Analysts say the presidential contest is a tossup here. But regardless of who wins, the result could help contribute to voters splitting their House delegation.
The Senate delegation is currently split between Ayotte and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D), who was elected in 2008.
Republicans are confident Romney will win Guinta’s 1st district, and Democrats share a similar confidence that Obama will carry Bass’ 2nd district.
In the 1st district especially, it is hard to imagine much crossover voting. Guinta and Shea Porter are often described as fierce partisans, and as a result, this is a district where the presidential contest will matter more than most.
Obama won both districts in 2008, but Republicans insist that 2008 was an anomaly and not an indicator of future performance. And 2010 at least partially proved that when Democrats lost both seats.
Money matters in this race because television advertising rates are expensive. The majority of voters in the 1st and 2nd districts share the Manchester media market, which is served by one network affiliate based there, as well as Boston’s network affiliates.
According to a source tracking New England media buys, it has been “a record year” for anyone selling television advertisements in New Hampshire or Massachusetts, which reaches Granite State voters.
One Democrat estimated that one out of every five commercials on the New Hampshire and Boston airwaves were political. A GOP source described that estimate as “low.”
Correction, Oct. 25
An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the amount of money raised by Carol Shea Porter during the third quarter. She raised almost $700,000.