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Final results: Summary results | Town resultsThe BasicsThe New Hampshire primary is a mainstay in American electoral politics. Every four years, voters gather to help determine the Republican and/or Democratic nominee for President. While the state only has 12 electoral votes in 2012 (normally it’s 24, but the Republican National Committee penalized the state party for moving up the event date), the primary’s position as one of the earliest contests gives the state out-sized influence over the nomination process.Only the Iowa caucuses come before New Hampshire’s primary. Traditionally, New Hampshire’s broad-based primary contest has been seen as a counter-weight to Iowa’s more drawn-out caucus process, which tends to draw a smaller core of party faithful. In the case of the 2012 Republican race, New Hampshire’s electorate is seen to represent the more libertarian-leaning, fiscally conservative wing of the party, while Iowa voters are seen as representing the socially conservative wing of the GOP base.N.H. Primary summary provided by StateImpact - NH reporter, Amanda Loder

A Look Back At Guinta's, Shea-Porter's Past Victories

NHPR / Sam Evans-Brown

This race is real bellwether for a number of reasons: the district itself demographically perfectly balanced between liberal and conservative voters, both candidates have held the seat before meaning they are more-or-less on equal footing in terms of name recognition, and both are party stalwarts have voted with their partys’ leadership high in 90th the percentile.

Both candidates were swept into office in wave elections – Shea-Porter propelled by anti-Bush sentiment and Guinta riding the Tea-Party wave – which can make it hard to assess how durable the dynamics that got them elected are. But taking a look back at the past victories for both candidates can give an idea of what to look for tonight.

2008: Shea-Porter Beats Jeb Bradley

Just a quick note on reading these maps: the lower the number the more Republican the town voted, and the higher the number the more Democratic.

In 2008, Shea-Porter won by a comfortable 6-point, 20,000 vote margin. Not a landslide by any means. That victory was driven by strong performances in the big population centers of the district – she won, Rochester, Dover, Somersworth, and Manchester – especially in liberal Portsmouth where she took 4,700 votes out of Bradley. She even eked out a victory in Laconia.

Those votes helped to outweigh her relatively poor showing in rural areas: especially in the Lakes Region and the towns surrounding Manchester. In the rural towns she did win, such as Farmington, Barnstead and Strafford, the victories were not particularly decisive, but in many such towns she lost – Hampstead, Alton, or Auburn – the margins were pretty large.

That’s a good segue into 2010.

2010: Guinta Unseats Shea-Porter

In 2010 Guinta’s victory was pretty convincing. His margin was over 26,000 votes in a non-presidential year, which put him 12 points up on Shea-Porter.

While the demographics driving the race were the same the dynamics were very much different. The Tea-Party movement was in full swing, triggering a Republican wave at the polls. Shea-Porter’s support in urban centers melted away, and the cities more apt to swing, did. Rochester, Laconia, and Manchester went to Guinta, and Portsmouth, Somerworth and Dover gave her many fewer votes.

In rural areas, Guinta cleaned up. He won 85 percent of towns with fewer than 5,000 voters and many by wide margins.

This Time Around

So the lay of the land for the past two elections was clear. The question today will be are the same underlying demographic forces still driving the election in CD1, or will a new coalition of voters form to keep Guinta in his seat, or boot him out. If they dynamic stays the same he needs to limit losses in the cities, and carry as many towns as he can, and Shea-Porter needs to do just the opposite. This is what you can look for as results begin to roll in.

Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR
Guinta and Shea-Porter have both won in the past. Here's a look at how those victories played out.

Sam Evans-Brown has been working for New Hampshire Public Radio since 2010, when he began as a freelancer. He shifted gears in 2016 and began producing Outside/In, a podcast and radio show about “the natural world and how we use it.” His work has won him several awards, including two regional Edward R. Murrow awards, one national Murrow, and the Overseas Press Club of America's award for best environmental reporting in any medium. He studied Politics and Spanish at Bates College, and before reporting was variously employed as a Spanish teacher, farmer, bicycle mechanic, ski coach, research assistant, a wilderness trip leader and a technical supporter.
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