One of America’s leading political prognosticators has looked in his “crystal ball,” and he sees the GOP holding on to its majority in the New Hampshire legislature this fall.
The latest edition of Larry Sabato’s “Crystal Ball” newsletter from the University of Virginia Center for Politics ranks both the House and Senate as “Likely Republican” following November’s midterms.
“The GOP should be able to hold both chambers and may be able to increase their majorities in one or both of them, aided by the popularity of Republican Gov. Chris Sununu, who is seeking another term,” analyst Lou Jacobson wrote. “The state’s enormous House chamber is historically vulnerable to large partisan swings, but it seems unlikely that the Democratic minority will be able to pull that off in the current political environment.”
The most recent “large partisan swing” was in 2020 when Republicans managed to take control of both the House and Senate even as Joe Biden was handily defeating President Donald Trump by seven points — the only GOP state party to do so.
Sabato’s analysis was released before the results of the latest primaries in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Idaho, which continued to show GOP participation surging while Democratic turnout lagged.
According to political strategist John Couvillion, GOP turnout since the 2022 primaries began has been up 32 percent. Democratic turnout is down three percent.
New Hampshire Democratic Party state chairman Ray Buckley declined to comment on the UVA analysis, but he has made repeated public statements predicting his party will do well in November. He has blamed the poor performance in 2020 on COVID-19 and the lack of doorknocking by Democratic candidates.
“The common denominator really is that the [Democratic] candidates need to go door to door and because of COVID, they were not able to,” Buckley told the Keene Sentinel. He has also predicted Democrats will defeat Sununu in November.
Republicans, however, remain confident.
“I look forward to earning back the majority and continuing Republican efforts to make New Hampshire a better place in which to live, work and raise a family,” said Speaker Sherman Packard (R-Londonderry) in response to the analysis.
House Majority Leader Jason Osborne predicted the GOP would increase its (historically narrow) majority. And, he added, “I look forward to providing the governor with the opportunity to seek his popularity by supporting Republican priorities.”
The GOP’s Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro) was more succinct. Asked about the UVA prediction, he simply replied: “I agree.”