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Senate Race May Help Drive Record Midterm Turnout In New Hampshire

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And let's turn to another state where there's a closely held Senate race, that's the state of New Hampshire. Josh Rogers from New Hampshire Public Radio joins us on the line from Manchester. Josh, good morning.

JOSH ROGERS, BYLINE: Good morning, David.

GREENE: So the Senate race there, it's between the incumbent Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, her challenger, Scott Brown, the Republican who, you know, our listeners might know well because not too long ago he was a senator from neighboring Massachusetts. Set up this race for us.

ROGERS: Well, it's been a race where Scott Brown, at every turn, has tried to nationalize it and make it about Senator Shaheen's fealty to President Obama. She's voted with them pretty much down the line, and Jeanne Shaheen in turn has cast Scott Brown as someone who doesn't know New Hampshire, serves himself and his out-of-state backers. And so it's a question of who's going to get out their vote at this point.

GREENE: And is that sort of what you're hearing from voters, Josh, I mean, sort of struggling with whether they want a candidate who is talking about the state of New Hampshire, versus a candidate who is trying to nationalize this and say, vote for me, it's a vote against the president and sort of his agenda?

ROGERS: Well, it is sort of a mixed-bag. You know, Jeanne Shaheen, before she served her first term in the U.S. Senate was governor for three terms and a state Senator before that. So she's very well-known and fairly popular according to the polls. And so there are some who say, you know, she's doing an all right job. I may not be happy of what's going on in Washington, but I'm comfortable with her.

There are also those who feel that all the Democrats need to go, and they want to hold President Obama accountable to the extent that they can. I talked to one person who describes herself as a Reagan Democrat who said she's voting for Scott Brown because she's lost faith in Democrats from the president on down. And I also spoke to a woman who said she was voting for Jeanne Shaheen because she's more comfortable with her than Scott Brown who, she says, is out for himself, but was also going to vote for a Republican in a Congressional seat. So it's hard to tell at this point.

GREENE: And we have a few seconds left. I just wonder, you're outside a polling station - busy so far?

ROGERS: Reasonably busy, not swarming as in a presidential year, but valid turnout for a midterm. Our secretary of state is predicting 53 percent of people will cast ballots today. That would be the highest-ever rate for participation for a midterm election, so it should be busy.

GREENE: All right, Josh Rogers from New Hampshire Public Radio, outside a polling station in the city of Manchester, New Hampshire, big Senate race there. Josh, thanks a lot.

ROGERS: You're welcome, David. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.