Democrat Maggie Hassan ’80 P’15 won the governorship of New Hampshire last night with 54 percent of the vote, defeating her Republican opponent Ovide Lamontagne, who garnered 43 percent. With her victory, Hassan will join Republican Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal ’91.5, Independent Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee ’75 P’14 and Democrat Delaware Gov. Jack Markell ’82 as University alums in gubernatorial office.
Hassan, a former New Hampshire state senate majority leader, had been locked in a close race throughout the fall with Lamontagne, an attorney. The most recent polls, according to Public Policy Polling, showed Hassan holding only a small lead. But on election day, Hassan outdistanced her opponent by a double-digit margin.
Social issues, such as abortion rights and same-sex marriage, were central to the race. New Hampshire is one of six states that has legalized same-sex marriage. Hassan, an abortion rights supporter who also backs same-sex marriage, had attacked Lamontagne, who opposes abortion rights and same-sex marriage, as too conservative on these issues. Lamontagne supports civil unions but said he would not allow any more same-sex marriages to be certified if elected.
According to exit polls cited by the Boston Globe, Hassan led among independents, who accounted for approximately 40 percent of voters at the New Hampshire polls yesterday. Hassan also led among other key demographic groups, including women and voters with family incomes less than $50,000.
In Delaware, Markell easily won reelection to a second term, defeating his Republican opponent, Jeffrey Cragg, by a margin of more than 40 percent. Markell was first elected governor in 2008.
Markell, who served as chair of the Democratic Governors Association in the 2010 election cycle, had maintained a consistent lead in polls throughout the race. Cragg also lagged in fundraising throughout the cycle, according to the Delaware Online.