In Close New Hampshire Race, Democrat Shaheen Defeats Incumbent Sununu

The Republican Sununu was hurt by his association with President Bush.

By + More

Stung by comparisons to an unpopular president, incumbent Republican Sen. John Sununu of New Hampshire was denied a second term Tuesday. Democratic ex-Gov. Jeanne Shaheen came out on top in what was a closely watched rematch of their 2002 fight.

Shaheen tore into Sununu for being in sync with George W. Bush, and Democrats reinforced the message by running TV ads depicting Bush's face morphing into Sununu's.

Sununu, 44, beat Shaheen handily six years ago. In the years since, the state's political hues have gone from red to purple to blue. The demographic shift was one reason Shaheen had led in polling for many months. Analysts said Sununu ordinarily is an aggressive campaigner but that this time he ramped up his efforts too late in the game. He had been hoping for a shot in the arm from Republican presidential candidate John McCain, who carried the state twice in primaries but fell short on Tuesday.

A moderate on social issues, Sununu entered the Senate with an M.B.A. from Harvard, engineering degrees from MIT, and a stint in the House. He hails from a political family. His father, an ex-governor of New Hampshire, was chief of staff for President George H. W. Bush.

Shaheen, 61, enjoyed popularity statewide based on her six years as governor and earlier service as a state lawmaker. She more recently led Harvard University's Institute of Politics.

With the poor economy the No. 1 issue among voters, Sununu attacked Shaheen as a free-spending liberal who flip-flopped in ultimately opposing the $700 billion Wall Street bailout.

Click here for the latest election results.