November 10, 2010

Northern New England Politics

Vermont has elected a Democrat governor, a Republican Lt. Governor, a Democrat Attorney General, a Democrat Secretary of State and retained solid Democrat majorities in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Meanwhile New Hampshire has turned decidedly Republican. From the Manchester Union Leader:
New Hampshire voters elected 19 Republican state senators out of a possible 24 -- the biggest Republican Senate majority since 1962. They elected Republicans to nearly 300 of the 400 state House seats, according to preliminary returns. And they elected Republicans to both U.S. House seats and the one U.S. Senate seat up for grabs. The lone bright spot for Democrats was the survival of Gov. John Lynch, who again campaigned as a moderate, pro-business, anti-spending executive (in other words, a Republican).

Likewise in Maine, Republicans surged to power. They now have control of both branches of the Legislature and a new Republican Governor.

Vermont, now a very 'Blue' state under full Democrat control, will confront the budget shortfall of $100+ million and will have no opposition to its policies.

Observing and comparing the approaches taken by Maine and New Hampshire, now much Redder states, will be a fascinating exercise. My prediction: Vermont will raise taxes and do little to cut spending during the next biennium. The best we can hope for is an improving economy which will produce better paying private sector jobs since Vermont's unemployment rate is 5.8%, but it won't be the government creating them. Maine's rate is 7.7% and New Hampshire's is 5.5%
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