- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 10, 2014

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - Getting to the starting line was just the beginning for the candidates who were successful in their primary contests.

Now the real races begin with a two-month sprint to the Nov. 4 general election with campaigns for governor, House, the state legislature and a U.S. Senate test that could determine the balance of power in Washington.

On Tuesday night, Walt Havenstein defeated Andrew Hemingway and two others to earn the Republican nomination to run against incumbent Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan.

“It was a lot of hard work building momentum over the summer and we’re going to build on that right into the general election,” Havenstein said. “We’re right back into it right now.”

Democrats banked on a Havenstein win and largely aimed their attacks at him in the run-up to Tuesday’s primary. There was no letup afterward.

“Walt Havenstein has proven time and again that he puts his own interests first, no matter who gets hurt,” said Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley.

Hassan easily won her primary and has history on her side: Only twice since 1953 has a first-term incumbent governor lost a re-election bid.

“If you continue standing with me, we’ll keep New Hampshire moving in the right direction,” she said in prepared remarks. “Because we have stood with the people of New Hampshire and listened to their priorities, we have put our state back on the right track.”

Havenstein, a 65-year-old former defense industry executive, acknowledged the challenge he faces.

“I appreciate the fact that I’m the underdog,” he said. “I’ve been the underdog since April 15th and I’m looking forward to coming from behind as I have done many, many times in my life.”

Scott Brown topped a field of nine to get the GOP’s nod to run for U.S. Senate against incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. Republicans need to pick up six seats to control that chamber.

In the U.S. House, Frank Guinta won in the 1st Congressional District to set up a third campaign against Carol Shea-Porter while Marilinda Garcia won in the 2nd district and will face Annie Kuster.

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