Bass, Sununu declare victory over newcomers

By Ralph Jimenez, Globe Staff, 11/8/2000

ANCHESTER, N.H. - Incumbent US Representatives Charles F. Bass and John E. Sununu, both sons of successful Republican politicians, declared victory last night over well-financed Democrats making their first runs for Congress.

In the state's 1st District - encompassing the Seacoast and Manchester, the state's largest city - the surprisingly close contest was between political oil and water. Sununu, 36, compiled one of the House's most conservative voting records.

His opponent, five-term state Representative Martha Fuller Clark, 58, is an unbashed liberal who hoped to be the first woman sent to Congress from New Hampshire. She advocates abortion rights, opposes school vouchers, and favors increasing the minimum wage and abolishing the death penalty. Sununu takes exactly the opposite positions.

In a phone interview last night, Sununu said he took the high road. ''I ran a positive campaign,'' he said. ''And I did very well in a number of towns in the district where Democratic registration is higher than Republican registration. Now I am focused on the kind of majority we are going to have in the House and my work on the budget committee.''

In New Hampshire's 2d District, which runs from the populous dot-com towns hugging the Massachusetts border to the Great North Woods, Bass faced Democrat Barney Brannen, a lawyer from Lyme.

Bass, 48, is a three-term congressman and an abortion-rights Republican known for his success in securing federal money and his attention to constituents.

Brannen, 40, raised more money than Bass and used much of it to buy television ads that attempted to link Bass to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, whom Bass backed in his first term. But Bass's appeal was powerful.

''I'm voting for Charlie Bass,'' said Deborah Kincaid, a former mental health worker from Concord. '' When I became disabled I was having a hard time getting Social Security, and he helped me.''