New Hampshire Public Radio: Josh Rogers

Josh has worked at NHPR since 2000 and serves as NHPRâââ

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.

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.

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Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's surge to the top tier of the GOP presidential field has been sudden.

That's put him squarely in the media spotlight — Gingrich has been buffeted for the past several days over his consulting work for the mortgage giant Freddie Mac. But it's also highlighted the challenge he faces in early-voting states like New Hampshire, where he lacks a traditional campaign structure.

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