Race of the Day -- N.H.-2

After scoring a major win for the left in Tuesday's Democratic House primary, Anne McLane Kuster (D) now faces a much bigger challenge in November's general election contest with former Rep. Charlie Bass (R-N.H.).

The race is for the seat being vacated by Rep. Paul Hodes (D-N.H.), who is running for Senate and it's one of many in New England that Republicans see as a potential pick-up opportunity this fall.

Kuster, who had the grassroots support of liberal activists across the country, dispensed with her Democratic primary opponent Tuesday, defeating Katrina Swett handily.

The race was a narrative that was tailor made for liberals nationwide. Swett is the daughter of the late Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) and the husband of former Rep. Dick Swett (D-N.H.). She was also the co-chairwoman of Sen. Joe Lieberman's (I-Conn.) 2004 presidential campaign.

After emerging as the favorite ahead of Tuesday's Democratic primary, due in large part to the fundraising and other aid provided by the recently-formed Progressive Campaign Change Committee, most anticipated a Kuster victory over Swett. But the margin turned out to be greater than anyone had predicted.

Kuster won with 69 percent to Swett's 31 percent.

Swett worked to paint herself as the more electable candidate in a general election ahead of the primary, repeatedly pointing out Kuster's branding of herself as "progressive." It was a line that Kuster used to raise more even cash online from liberal activists.

Kuster's campaign points out that she has also raised significant amounts of money from New Hampshire donors, noting that a majority of her money during the primary actually came from in-state. 

But if the self-proclaimed "progressive" offered a picture perfect narrative for liberal voters in the primary, former Rep. Charlie Bass (R-N.H.) will try to turn that narrative on its head in his pitch to general election voters.

He has already cast Kuster as "too liberal" and in the mold of President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). The communications director for the state's Republican committee labeled Kuster "a left-wing extremist" Tuesday.

Bass emerged from a relatively close race in a crowded Republican field. The former congressman, who lost to Hodes in 2006, defeated broadcaster Jennifer Horn (R) and Bob Giuda, a former state lawmaker.

After declaring victory in the primary, Bass predicted that the next month would prove to be "Kuster's last stand."

The most obvious advantage for Bass is the strong name recognition he enjoys throughout the district, but Democrats think that could also work in Kuster's favor this fall.

In a year where political newcomers have triumphed, Kuster is likely to point to the six terms Bass has already served in Congress, while Bass is already pitching his time away from Congress as a plus.

The Granite State's 2nd District race will offer a good test of just how far that anti-incumbent sentiment extends in 2010 with Bass hoping that having been away from Washington for the past four years will be enough.

-Updated at 12:15 p.m.