Election Day has come and gone and it pretty much went the establishment’s way. While there are still precincts that have yet to report, it doesn’t appear as if the turnout will equal the twenty percent mark predicted by Secretary of State Bill Gardner. Nonetheless, it appears as if the G O P remains divided on its way forward. Let’s get to the races.
Former Bay State Senator Scott Brown won the G O P nomination fight against former Senator Bob Smith and former State Senator Jim Rubens. Winning roughly half the vote, Brown easily defeated his rivals who split the remaining vote almost exactly in half. While Brown cruised to victory, his detractors point out that Smith’s and Rubens’ combined vote totals about equaled Brown’s, showing the party remains split between the so called establishment slash moderates and the more conservative grass roots. Rubens had pledged to support Brown if he won the primary. Smith, however, has consistently refused to pledge his support. In an interview yesterday, Smith said quote “you don’t unify around a breakfast. You unify around principals.” After their televised debate, Brown said he would need Smith’s support and supporters to win the general election. Whether or not that is forthcoming remains to be seen. Brown hits the campaign trail this morning with a seven thirty appearance at the Red Arrow Diner.
Former First District Congressman Frank Guinta earned the chance to run against incumbent Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter, besting rival Dan Innis. With eighty three percent of the precincts reporting, Guinta received just under half the vote and is up by almost nine points over Innis, a first time candidate that enjoyed the support of state and national super PACs dedicated to electing gay politicians or those who support so called gay issues. Guinta’s campaign was heavily outspent by the interest groups and received little help from outside his campaign. He weathered the onslaught of mail and other advertising in the closing two weeks to post a solid victory. Challenger Brendan Kelly finished a distant third with less than five percent of the vote.
In the Second District, Salem State Rep. Marilinda Garcia handily defeated former State Senator Gary Lambert with fifty percent of the vote to Lambert’s twenty six. Former Hudson State Representative Jim Lawrence pulled in nineteen percent. The campaign was marked by bitter attack ads and debate exchanges, best summarized by Garcia’s refusal to shake Lamber’s hand after their televised debate. Garcia would later apologize for the slight, but Lamber’s attacks on Garcia over immigration reform, Obamacare, and tax policy rallied support for Garcia from around the state and country in the closing two weeks of the campaign. In an interview here on Girard at Large yesterday, Garcia defended her position saying there was a difference between legal status and citizenship and that the details of reform mattered and needed to be part of an open dialogue. She also said that allowing children to remain on their parents health insurance policies until they were twenty six and barring insurance companies from denying coverage for preexisting conditions were things she would support after repealing Obamacare. She takes on Congresswoman Ann “Where’s Benghazi” Kuster in the general election.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
In the elections for state offices, Walt Havenstein handily defeated challenger Andrew Hemingway, tallying fifty six percent of the vote to Hemingway’s thirty seven, with eighty seven percent of the state’s precincts reporting. While Hemingway soundly defeated Havenstein in their televised debate last week, his campaign never had the money it needed to compete and his grassroots efforts were overwhelmed by Havenstein’s television, radio, mail and other advertising. Havenstein stressed his executive business experience and says he will use it to highlight how and why the economy has failed under the leadership of incumbent Governor Margaret Wood Hassan, who cruised to an easy victory in her primary against two no name, no effort expended opponents.
Bob Burns has earned a rematch with Christopher Pappas for the District Four Executive Council seat. Burns defeated Jim Adams by some nineteen points. Dave Wheeler of Milford defeated Dr. Steve Hattamer by a two to one margin in the G O P Executive Council race in District Five.
For the State Senate in District Eight, which includes the towns of Weare, Hillsborough, Deering and others in our listening area, Jerry Little, the former Executive Director of the NH Bankers Association easily defeated challenger JP Marzullo, former Vice-Chair of the N H Republican Party.
In District Eleven, which includes the towns of Merrimack, Milford, Amherst and Wilton, State Representative Gary Daniels of Milford posted a strong victory with thirty nine percent of the vote in the four person field to former Merrimack State Rep. Maureen Mooney’s thirty one percent. Merrimack Town Councilor Dan Dwyer received sixteen percent.
In District Sixteen, which is Manchester wards one, two and twelve and the towns of Hooksett, Candia, Dunbarton and Bow, incumbent David Boutin survived a strong challenge from newcomer Jane Cormier. Boutin, who heavily outspent Cormier and enjoyed the support of the N H Senate Majority PAC, beat Cormier by a mere three hundred sixty four votes, in one of the most closely watched races in the state. His co-sponsorship of the twenty three percent gas tax increase and the expansion of Medicaid to implement Obamacare in N H didn’t sit well with many in the district, but his ad onslaught was able to blunt Cormier’s charge.
In District Eighteen, State Rep. George Lambert defeated Manchester Ward Six School Committeewoman Robyn Dunphy by fourteen points in something of a surprise. District eighteen is Manchste wards five through nine and the town of Litchfield. Critics of Dunphy said her failure to oppose the Manchester School District’s rewrite of the Common Core national standards in education hurt her given Lambert’s strong opposition. Lambert squares off against incumbent Donna Soucy.
Finally, in District Nineteen, Hampstead State Rep. Regina Birdsell defeated disgraced candidate Jim Foley of Derry and Derry State Rep. Frank Sapareto. While I only have numbers for the towns of Windham and Hampstead where Birdsell racked up a substantial lead and don’t have the numbers for Derry, all the Facebook posts congratulating her on her win makes it a safe bet that she’s the nominee.
That’s news from our own backyard, GAL Hour ____ is next.