Hodes Enters Stage Left
When Democratic Rep. Paul Hodes’ poll numbers in the race for U.S. Senate started to feel stagnant back in February, I suggested that he was at a bit of a competitive disadvantage given the dynamics of the Republican primary contest. It is often quite difficult for the presumptive nominee of one party to break into the political discourse of a competitive primary in the other party. A candidate can find himself largely relegated to the sidelines until the general election, as the media focuses on the other party’s horse race right up to the primary.
Well, Hodes may finally be getting his chance to break into the discussion, and a few months early to boot. Ever since the story broke nationally on former New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte’s legislative testimony in the Financial Resources Mortgage scandal, Hodes’ aggressive campaigning on the issue has brought him some renewed visibility. For the national media, this Senate race has always been about the potential ascendancy of Ayotte to the Washington political scene. Anything that might derail that storyline is going to get a lot of attention, and judging by all of the national references to both Hodes and Ayotte that I’ve seen over the past few days (for example, item #3 here), Hodes appears to be the primary beneficiary at the moment.
Back in my earlier post, I talked about Hodes needing an opportunity to break into the campaign discourse, but even this unexpectedly direct pairing of him and Ayotte in the national media is no guarantee that he can change the dynamics of the race. Some fresh polling data in July will give us a better sense of whether Hodes is finally getting some traction here, and whether Ayotte is finally slipping in response to the FRM scandal.
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