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Kuster Wins Second Term

Melanie Plenda for NHPR

Democratic Congresswoman Anne Kuster won a second term last night, handily beating Republican challenger Marilinda Garcia in New Hampshire’s Second Congressional District race. With a margin off 55 to 45 percent, with 88 percent of the vote counted, Kuster’s victory was the most lopsided of the contests at the top of the ballot.

Even before Garcia called her to concede, Kuster took the stage at her Concord headquarters to declare victory. New Hampshire, she told her supporters, had taught the nation a lesson:

“How to move America forward. We know how to bring people together to get things done and that’s what each and every one of you did today at the polls and thank you!”

Kuster faced a novel foe in Garcia: This was the first race for federal office in state history that pitted one woman against another. Republicans here and in Washington hoped Garcia could blunt Democrats typical advantage among women voters. And at 31, she was seen as a fresh face who could beat Kuster by tying her to President Obama.

But Kuster and deep-pocketed Democratic allies hammered Garcia’s conservative record on issues such as abortion, the minimum wage, and federal spending. They spent big to paint Garcia as too extreme for the state.

“And here’s what New Hampshire voters reject,” Kuster said last night. “They reject tired Tea Party talking points, and they reject an extreme economic agenda, that helps the top one percent profit on the backs of hard-working Granite Staters.”

An emotional Garcia    told supporters in Nashua her message was one of American exceptionalism and opportunity.

“And that’s what we’re concerned is being diminished and taken away from us when we see decision-making and control centered in Washington DC instead of here in your hands and in your families and in your communities,” Garcia said.

Some supporters scrawled “2016” on Garcia’s campaign signs around the room. But she declined to say on whether she would return to state politics. 

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