In the past, New Hampshire's elections have proven to be litmus tests of the national mood. In 2006, when the Iraq War was in full swing and anti-Bush sentiment was growing, New Hampshire for the first time in nearly a century elected two Democrats to fill its congressional delegation. Two years later, Shaheen managed to oust Republican Sen. John Sununu by accusing him of being nothing more than a puppet for an unpopular president.
"I've acknowledged that John Sununu has voted 10 percent of of the time independently. He's voted 90 percent of the time with President Bush," Shaheen said on the debate stage in 2008. "It is those votes for those policies that have gotten us into the economic crisis that we are in."
But in 2010, after the Affordable Care Act was enacted, New Hampshire's partisan pendulum swung back in the Republicans' favor as the tea-party wave swept the nation. New Hampshire elected Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte and sent two Republicans to the House.
Unlike other close races—like those in Arkansas, Kentucky, or Alaska, all conservative states where Obama's approval numbers have been underwater since he was elected in 2008—strong dissatisfaction with Obama's second term in New Hampshire only emerged mid-2013. The president's popularity in the state has continued to wane as foreign policy and national security emerged over the summer as the dominant force on the campaign trail.
A slew of potential 2016 Republican candidates visiting the state this summer and fall have also echoed the message that Democrats are undermining America's place in the world. And Brown has not wasted the opportunity to join in and exploit the Obama administration's struggles overseas.
In ads, Brown never misses the chance to show Shaheen smiling alongside the president. Whether the focus is the danger of immigrants slipping across the border or the potential for ISIS to attack, Brown has found a resonating message in tying Shaheen to Obama's blunders.
At the last New Hampshire Senate debate, Brown's attacks on Obama's management of the Ebola crisis and ISIS, not statewide issues, became the focus of the debate.
"What's not responsible is for politicians to repeat ISIS talking points like they're planning to plant a flag on the front steps of the White House," Shaheen said as she accused Brown of "fearmongering" to win the race.
"She calls it fearmongering, I call it rational fear," Brown countered.
Brown's nationalized message even appears to be convincing some Democrats in the state. In an endorsement this week, Former Democratic state Senate leader Bob Preston released an open letter denouncing Shaheen. His central argument? Shaheen was simply too friendly with a dysfunctional Obama administration.
"Her blind allegiance to the Obama administration has resulted in the problems our nation faces today," Preston wrote in the letter obtained by The Huffington Post.