Politics

ISIS at issue in New Hampshire US Senate race

Brown and Shaheen face off in November.
Rich Beauchesne/Portsmouth Herald/Associated Press (left) Jim Cole/Associated press/File
Brown and Shaheen face off in November.

The dangerous militant group that has taken control of a swath of the Middle East and publicly beheaded Westerners on video has become a major campaign issue in the New Hampshire US Senate race.

Republican Scott Brown frequently mentions the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, known by acronyms ISIS and ISIL, on the campaign trail. At an event in August, he said the Sunni extremist group makes Al Qaeda “look like Boy Scouts.”

This morning in a letter, he called on the Democratic senator he is trying to unseat, Jeanne Shaheen, to “reintroduce my prior legislation that would strip U.S. citizenship from those fighting alongside ISIS and prevent them from returning to the United States by taking from them their greatest weapon — a U.S. passport.”

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A Shaheen spokesman, Harrell Kirstein, said the senator believes “that anyone who fights with ISIS is a traitor and should lose their citizenship. She has been clear on the need for a comprehensive strategy to defeat and destroy ISIS.”

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Two of the people beheaded by the group, journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, had New Hampshire ties, and the issue of the US response to ISIS appears to resonate with voters there.

Shaheen was a co-sponsor of legislation to honor the two journalists’ lives. She has also called on the administration to focus on “dismantling” the group’s finances and ability to bring in money.

Brown, the former US senator from Massachusetts, is vying to unseat Shaheen, a former governor and state senator, on Nov. 4.

Polls have found the race, one of a handful of competitive contests that could determine what party controls the chamber, to be very close.

Joshua Miller can be reached at joshua.miller@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jm_bos.