New Hampshire Public Radio: Josh Rogers

Josh has worked at NHPR since 2000 and serves as NHPRâââ

Scott Brown still knows how to make an entrance.

The former Massachusetts senator — and a soon-to-be official resident of Rye, N.H. — arrived at the New Hampshire GOP's holiday party in his trademark pickup truck Thursday evening, and was greeted by more than 100 chanting protesters.

The 2012 elections will be remembered for the pivotal role female voters played in re-electing President Obama. But in New Hampshire, it will be remembered as the year women swept all major races.

Democratic Congresswomen-elect Ann McLane Kuster and Carol Shea-Porter will join Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte in the nation's first all-female congressional delegation.

But another Granite State woman who won big Tuesday, Gov.-elect Maggie Hassan, is quick to stress that putting women in top offices is nothing new here.

There are 11 gubernatorial races this fall, and one of the most competitive is in the swing state of New Hampshire.

There, Republican Ovide Lamontagne and Democrat Maggie Hassan are vying to replace a popular Democrat who opted not to seek a fifth term. Both political parties and outside advocacy groups are pushing hard in a race where neither candidate enjoys a clear edge.

The decisive role female voters may play in the key battleground state of New Hampshire hasn't been lost on President Obama and his political allies.

If Democrats sweep the swing state's major races on Election Day, New Hampshire would become the first state to have women hold its entire congressional delegation and the governor's office. Obama would also pick up four potentially crucial electoral votes.

"We have held hundreds of events targeting women voters," said Harrell Kirstein, a spokesman for the Obama campaign in New Hampshire.

That New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte is even being considered as Mitt Romney's running mate is somewhat remarkable. After all, New Hampshire has just four electoral votes, and Ayotte has been a U.S. senator — her first elected office — for less than two years.

But if any senator could be said to possess a refreshing charm, it might be Ayotte, 44, a mother of two young children, who still lives in her hometown of Nashua and is married to a former combat pilot.

Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney spent his July Fourth holiday marching in a New Hampshire parade, and backtracking statements a top adviser made about the individual mandate in the Obama health care law.

There was something for almost everybody in Wolfeboro's Independence Day parade: a local brass band, bonnet-wearing Daughters of the American Revolution, a Zumba instructor shimmying across the bed of a pickup truck, and even a Jimmy Durante impersonator, complete with prosthetic nose.

New Hampshire, one of the least religious states in the nation, has become the latest front in the political battle over contraception. State GOP leaders oppose the new federal rule compelling insurers to provide birth control to employees of religious organizations. They want to change a 12-year-old state law that requires contraceptive coverage under insurers' prescription drug policies.

It's hard to miss the politics fueling state House Speaker William O'Brien's push to carve out a religious exemption from the contraception mandate.

As several states debate measures to legalize gay marriage, New Hampshire is considering a repeal of its same-sex marriage law. The repeal has the backing of some top leaders in the GOP-controlled Legislature. But rescinding rights is never easy, particularly in a state that takes its liberties seriously.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum nearly won the Iowa caucuses on the strength of his retail campaigning across all of the state's counties — and his connection with Christian conservative voters. Now he's in New Hampshire, with just days to go before the first-in-the-nation primary. Santorum is trying to connect with independent-minded voters in a very secular state.

Mitt Romney's campaign stops Tuesday in New Hampshire, at small restaurants with largely invited crowds, featured lofty patriotic themes and seemed designed to help him lock down his current base of support in the Granite State.

"America the Beautiful," the Founding Fathers, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were referenced by the GOP presidential contender during his last bit of stumping in New Hampshire before heading off for a three-day bus tour of Iowa, which holds its caucuses in a week.

You may not have heard of Buddy Roemer. But he's running for president. And despite an impressive resume and gift for turning a phrase, Roemer barely registers in the polls. He's conducting his quixotic run for office without accepting campaign contributions that exceed $100.

With three weeks to go before the New Hampshire primary, presidential campaigns are working at full speed to reach out to voters.

Political strategists say a good ground game — a campaign's ability to identify voters and get them to the polls — is worth 3 points at the ballot box. That's a boost any candidate would want.

It was a busy day yesterday for presidential politicking in New Hampshire. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich traded barbs over Romney's proposed ten-thousand dollar bet with Texas Governor Rick Perry, as well as Gingrich's consulting fees earned working for mortgage giant Freddie Mac. New Hampshire Public Radio's Josh Rogers reports.

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Most candidates see a strong showing in the New Hampshire primary as important. For Republican Jon Huntsman, it's essential. The former Utah governor has staked his whole campaign on the New Hampshire primary. New Hampshire Public Radio's Josh Rogers reports.