In contrast to Kenya, US Governors seek to become Senators

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New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan, who is running for U.S. Senate, was part of a live forum in Studio D on Tues. Sept. 27, 2016 at NHPR during “The Exchange” with host Laura Knoy and political reporter Josh Rogers. There was a live studio audience.

Senators are falling over themselves in Kenya to be the next Governors. Not quite so in the United States.

Here, it’s the other way round in a number of States. New Hampshire is one of them.

Maggie Hassan, a two-term governor for the past three years, is abandoning her current post and is contesting the position of Senator.

“A lot of people say that the Senate is a more prestigious office to hold. She (Hassan) was legislator; she was in the State Senate before she was elected Governor and enjoys the legislative process. It’s a national position… not sitting in the State House in New Hampshire, which is a weak position. You have less power to appoint your Cabinet, directors of transportation and Judiciary for instance who have to be approved by a five-member Governors Council,” Josh Rogers, a senior political reporter at New Hampshire Public Radio told Capital FM News.

Hassan previously served three terms in the New Hampshire State Senate and became the 81st Governor of New Hampshire in January 2013.

Governor Hassan began her career in public service in 1999 when she was asked to serve on the Advisory Committee to the Adequacy in Education and Finance Commission.

Her experience as a business attorney, along with her role as the parent of two children, one of whom experiences severe disabilities, enabled her to provide a unique perspective as the commission did its work.

Hassan is vying against Republican Kelly Ayotte, who has gone against the grain and is not voting for her party presidential nominee, Donald Trump.

New Hampshire has four Electoral College votes and is seen as a key State for any candidate seeking to win the 270 Electoral College votes to secure keys to the White House.

Apart from winning the popular vote, the winner of the US presidential election needs to garner 270 Electoral College votes to be declared winner. If one wins the popular vote but they fail to secure the 270 Electoral College votes, they will have lost the election.

At a minimum, each US State gets three electoral votes. Larger states have proportionately more electoral votes because a State’s House delegation is determined by population.

California for instance has the highest number of Electoral College votes at 55, followed by Texas with 38. New York and Florida each have 29 Electoral College votes.

When a candidate wins in a particular State, they garner all the Electoral College Votes in that State. But that’s not to say even States will a smaller number of Electoral College votes don’t matter.

“New Hampshire only four Electoral Votes. It’s a small number but New Hampshire has been decisive in the past like when George W. Bush and Al Gore’s case went to the Supreme Court, people talk about Florida… but had Gore won New Hampshire, Florida wouldn’t have mattered,” Rogers explained.

According to Rogers, democrats have carried the day in the last five out of six presidential elections.

“I would be pretty surprised if Hillary Clinton did not win New Hampshire. Although Donald Trump did well in the Republican primaries here, she has a much deeper organisation in the State. She was expected to win here in the Democratic primaries but Bernie Sanders beat her. People give Donald Trump a slim chance of winning here but if he has two, New Hampshire needs to be one f the States he wins in.”

On Tuesday, Sanders plans to be in New Hampshire to campaign for presidential Clinton and Hassan in her bid for the US Senate.

Sanders will attend a get-out-the-vote rally at Plymouth State University before proceeding to Hanover for a similar event.

Chelsea Clinton will on the other hand be in Keene and Hanover for her mom, democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

With more people voting in this election than any in history, Clinton will talk about the importance of electing Democrats up and down the ticket.

(Michael is participating in a 2016 US General Elections Embed program administered by the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) and sponsored by the US State Department’s Foreign Press Centers and US Embassy Posts)

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