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The Exchange

Weekly N.H. News Roundup - October 7, 2016


With just about a month to go before the election, the debate season is in full swing. We look at the recent U.S. Senate debate that included a comment by Senator Kelly Ayotte that went viral.  Things get testy in the first televised gubernatorial debate between Chris Sununu and Colin van Ostern.  The state's rainy day fund swells to $90 million, and, with no rainfall in the forecast, state officials warn drought conditions could worsen. 


Here are some highlights from the discussion:

Dean Spiliotes, of SNHU and NHPoliticalCapital, says Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has a lot riding on the upcoming debate with Hillary Clinton. 

There's been this sort of drip, drip, drip in the press of GOP officials and politicians who are saying that if he doesn't get his act together for [the town hall-style debate], they are going to start bailing on him and focus on their own political fortune.

Trent Spiner, executive editor for The Union Leader,  says on-the-fence voters showed up at Donald Trump's Sandown event. 

[They said] 'I wanted to come to this because everything is so filtered. I see sound bytes on social media, I see sound bytes on TV, and I want to come see him in a small venue and decide for myself whether or not I'm going to vote for him.'

Allie Morris, Concord Monitor reporter, on the moment in this week's debate when Senator Kelly Ayotte was asked whether she would recommend Donald Trump as a role model for children. After appearing to struggle, Ayotte eventually said, "Absolutely."    

So far in this race, Democrats have had a hard time really pinning Trump on Kelly Ayotte. She said she supports him but does not endorse him...a line that's really earned a lot of ridicule but has so far allowed her to kind of skirt being tied too much to Trump's policies.

Spiner on why Ayotte's response was strained:

Somewhere between 35 and 45 % of voters in New Hampshire are going to vote for Donald Trump. Kelly Ayotte needs those voters. But 35 or 40% may not be enough to get her over the hump, and she will lose the race if she isn't able to capture some independents, moderate Republicans, even some very moderate Democrats. So she's trying to make sure she has the Trump support but that she's also able to get some more support from the middle.

During the gubernatorial debate this week, Morris says she was surprised Republican Chris Sununu attacked Governor Maggie Hassan so strenuously in defending his Executive Council vote against a Planned Parenthood contract.

I think [Sununu] was probably trying to tie Colin [van Ostern] to Governor Hassan, but he didn't really communicate that in the debate. So it seemed like he was debating two people on the stage: Governor Hassan and Colin, without really making the case that Colin would be a Maggie Hassan 2.0.

Check out Morris's  coverage of the U.S. Senate debate, and The Union Leader's write-up of the Gubernatorial debate.