As the race for New Hampshire governor enters the final weekend, most observers say the battle between the two major candidates — Democrat Maggie Hassan and Republican Ovide Lamontagne — is too close to call.
Both are vying to follow John Lynch into the corner office after the popular Democrat won his historic fourth consecutive, two-year term as governor in 2010.
According to observers, one reason the race is so close is because neither Hassan nor Lamontagne has statewide name recognition, forcing each to wage hands-on campaigns, stumping personally throughout the Granite State to bring their messages to voters.
Adding to the gubernatorial political maelstrom is the fact that Libertarian candidate Michael Baldassarre could siphon off votes, making the outcome at the polls Tuesday even more difficult to predict.
In the hard-fought, and some say, nasty campaign, much has been made about where the candidates live.
Lamontagne, a New Hampshire native is well-known in Manchester, living in the house where he grew up.
Hassan, a three-term state senator who represented Seabrook’s District 23 for six years, is well-known on the Seacoast. She resides in Exeter, where her family is required to live in a home on the campus of Phillips Exeter Academy, where her husband serves as principal.
Both candidates are critical of the negative attack ads tied to the race and paid for by political interests with addresses outside the state. They said they dislike that the ads divert voter attention away from the real issues at stake and refer people who want to know their platforms and stands on issues to their websites and campaign position papers.
Both candidates are adamant about their pledge to oppose both a sales and income tax should either be brought to their desks.
They also agree on their support for expanding gambling in the Granite State. The motivating factor appears to be the massive gambling initiative in Massachusetts that could put a huge casino in Metropolitan Boston, less than 35 miles from the New Hampshire state line, drawing millions of dollars out of state. The candidates both believe that if New Hampshire residents want to gamble, they should be able to do it locally.