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By Michael A. Memoli, Tribune Washington Bureau (MCT)

New Hampshire Democrat Jeanne Shaheen won re-election to a second Senate term Tuesday, withstanding a late push by Republicans to use a toxic national political environment against her.

Shaheen, the first woman in the nation ever elected both governor and senator, relied on her track record in elective office and her well-honed political machine to fend off a challenge from former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, a Republican who crossed the border from Massachusetts in a bid to return to the Senate.

The Associated Press called the race for Shaheen with about 32 percent of precincts reporting.

New Hampshire, where politics is an unofficial sport, has been particularly prone to swings in the national political climate. Shaheen lost her first bid for the Senate in 2002, but won a 2008 rematch against John Sununu on the back of President Barack Obama’s first race for the White House.

Brown would have become just the third person to represent multiple states in the Senate and the first since 1879.

In Massachusetts, he shocked the political world in 2010 by winning a special election to fill the seat held by the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, a Democrat. Brown’s victory was an early indicator of opposition to Obama’s health care law. But Brown lost his bid for a full six-year term in 2012 to Democrat Elizabeth Warren.

Photo: Roger H. Goun via Flickr

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