Democratic Primary Turnout Worries GOP

The huge wave of voters that turned out for the Iowa and New Hampshire Democratic contests has chilled GOP hopes for an easy congressional election cycle. In states like New Hampshire, where candidates like Sen. John Sununu are in election trouble, a big November Democratic turnout could doom Republicans, said key officials. An example: There were nearly 60,000 more votes in the New Hampshire 2008 Democratic presidential primary (about 285,000) than Sununu received in his first election bid in 2002 (about 227,000).

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The huge wave of voters that turned out for the Iowa and New Hampshire Democratic contests has chilled GOP hopes for an easy congressional election cycle. In states like New Hampshire, where candidates like Sen. John Sununu are in election trouble, a big November Democratic turnout could doom Republicans, said key officials. An example: There were nearly 60,000 more votes in the New Hampshire 2008 Democratic presidential primary (about 285,000) than Sununu received in his first election bid in 2002 (about 227,000).

In other states, such as Minnesota and Louisiana, where races for some House and Senate seats are close, it could also tilt in favor of Democrats. While there is little the parties can do to affect turnout, said another GOP official, the hope is that the eventual presidential nominee will create his own momentum to offset the Democratic voter boom seen so far in the caucuses and primaries.

—Paul Bedard