CONCORD, N.H. (AP) – Democrats are seeking to maintain their dominance of New Hampshire’s congressional delegation on Tuesday while Republicans hope to regain lost ground.

Three of the four members of the all-Democratic delegation are up for reelection: U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, 1st District Rep. Chris Pappas and 2nd District Rep. Annie Kuster. While the state has been represented only by Democrats in Washington for the last four years, Republicans held some of the seats before that, and the 1st District in particular had swung back and forth between the parties.

Shaheen, a former governor seeking her third term in the Senate, faces Republican Corky Messner, a newcomer to both politics and the state. An attorney from Colorado who turned his New Hampshire vacation home into his permanent residence about two years ago, he criticized Shaheen as a career politician while casting himself as an independent outsider with experience creating jobs and navigating bureaucracies. Shaheen has emphasized her record of helping small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic and securing funding to fight the opioid crisis as well as her commitment to the Affordable Care Act.

In the 1st District, Pappas faces Republican Matt Mowers as he seeks a second term. Pappas, a former state lawmaker whose family runs a popular restaurant in Manchester, spent much of the campaign playing up his bipartisan credentials and his work on behalf of veterans. President Donald Trump endorsed Mowers, who briefly worked in his administration’s State Department.

The 2nd District features a rematch between Kuster, who is seeking a fifth term, and Republican Steve Negron. During the campaign, Kuster emphasized her work in Congress to help pass the $2 trillion CARES Act that provided emergency relief during the pandemic and her advocacy for frontline workers. Negron, who runs a defense engineering and consulting firm in Nashua, is a conservative who supports Trump.

Trump narrowly lost New Hampshire to Hillary Clinton in 2016, and the state has been considered a battleground in the presidential race. Further down the ballot, Republican Gov. Chris Sununu, who is seeking a third term, faces Democrat Dan Feltes. Voters also will elect 400 members of the state House and 24 members of the Senate.

As it did for the September primary, the coronavirus pandemic significantly changed both the process of campaigning and voting. Safety precautions are in place at the polls, and anyone with concerns about the virus was allowed to vote by absentee ballot. As of Monday morning, more than 223,000 absentee ballots had been returned to city and town clerks.

Secretary of State Bill Gardner on Monday said he expects more than 800,000 ballots to be cast, surpassing the record of 755,850 set in 2016.

___ Associated Press writers Michael Casey and Kathy McCormack contributed to this report.


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