New Hampshire May See First All-Female Delegation

August 9, 2010

By Steve Peoples, CQ-Roll Call

There is an unusual storyline playing out between the endorsements, fundraisers and political attacks in New Hampshire.

When the 112th Congress convenes in January, the Granite State could be represented by the nation’s first all-female Congressional delegation.

New Hampshire already has the distinction of being the only state this cycle with active female candidates left in each of its Congressional races. And pollsters and political observers alike believe the state could make history this fall, although it may be a long shot.

“It is a historic thing to consider, and it would be very much in the tradition of New Hampshire,” said Democrat Katrina Swett, who hopes to become the first woman elected in the 2nd district. “Unlike many parts of the country, we really have changed the traditional portrait of power.”

Indeed, in 2008 the Granite State became the first to feature a female majority in one of its legislative chambers. That same year, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen became the nation’s first woman to serve as governor and U.S. Senator.

While the Democrat isn’t on the ballot again until 2014, the contests for New Hampshire’s other Senate seat and two House seats are still very much up in the air.

Sophomore Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D) is ahead in early polling against former Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta (R), but she has yet to crack the 50 percent mark.

Swett is battling another woman, the well-funded Ann McLane Kuster, in the Sept. 14 Democratic primary. The winner will likely face former Rep. Charles Bass (R), who is still relatively popular, in November.

And the state’s high-profile Senate contest to replace Republican Judd Gregg will likely feature Kelly Ayotte, the frontrunner in the GOP primary who recently won former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin ’s endorsement, against Rep. Paul W. Hodes (D)

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