GOP May Struggle To Control State Senate
Maybe it’s the close election for President or the surprisingly close election for Governor. Or perhaps it was the unexpected retirement of several veteran GOP Senators and subsequently weak GOP candidates. Regardless, in a year where Republicans redistricted and gave themselves everything they wanted, it isn’t working out as planned. Republicans may well hold onto the majority but most pundits believe it will be 14-10 at best, 13-11 most likely and a split 12-12 state senate is a reality.
Let’s run down the races:
Popular incumbent John Gallus retired unexpectedly and Republican Debi Warner is no John Gallus. In fact, she isn’t even from Coos County which is a big strike against her. Warner is from Littleton, Grafton County, and Coos County makes up the large majority of District 1. Popular Democrat Jeff Woodburn is running a strong campaign and is considered a moderate. With President Obama and Maggie Hassan running strong up North expect a big win top to bottom for the Democrats up in District 1.
Jeanie Forrester is one of the brightest new Republicans north of Concord and her straight talk gets her high marks from all ends of the districts. She will beat back a spirited challenge from wealthy bank executive Bob Lamb. Forrester has a strong future in North Country politics…and possibly even statewide.
Republican Jeb Bradley will be re-elected but Jeb isn’t taking it for granted. He is spending a good amount of money to make sure he isn’t just another frontrunner who forgot to campaign in a volatile election year.
This could well be the biggest surprise of Tuesday’s election. This race doesn’t even register with most pundits but Republican Phyllis Woods is running an aggressive campaign with a good message and a ground effort that is second to none. We are ready to give her the edge of Democrat Representative David Watters and if she pulls it out, she will be the Republicans 13th vote.
No contest – Democrat David Pierce wins in a landslide
Republican Representative Sam Cataldo wins with a decent margin over Democrat Rich Leonard. This race should have been closer but Republicans worked it hard and Democrats appeared to give it up.
Can you say D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R? Republicans can. In a good district for Republicans, they will lose this race to Democrat Andrew Hosmer by a wide margin given the personal issues that have flogged Republican Josh Youseff from the day after he won the Republican Primary. This should have been a relatively safe district for Republicans. And once Hosmer is in there, expect him to stay a while. He isn’t a standard liberal Democrat and will vote carefully to hold his seat.
Republican Senator Bob Odell wins in a walk.
Where do we start? Republican Senator Andy Sanborn left his district in left leaning Merrimack County to move to Republican Bedford in hopes of obtaining a solid Republican seat. However, he had to get through a bruising primary with Representative Ken Hawkins (who never endorsed Sanborn after he lost) and was left with an empty bank account. Democrat trial lawyer Lee Nyquist started attacking Sanborn right out of the gate and never let up. The result may be a shocking victory by a Democrat in a Republican district – similar to the shocking victory in 2010 by Republican Gary Lambert in the big Democratic Nashua district. This is a close race but we give the edge to Democrat Nyquist because, well, negative campaigns work.
Popular Republican Sheriff Dick Foote could have spent $250,000 and still lost this race. In one of the most liberal areas of the state, Keene, Obama will win 70-30 and there is nothing any Republican can do to swim against that tide. Incumbent Molly Kelly wins without breaking a sweat.
Republican Senate President Peter Bragdon is the only Republican leader in the state who is unopposed for reelection. Will he remain the Senate President? We don’t dare go there yet.
First term Incumbent GOP Senator Jim Luther squeaked through in the Republican wave of 2010. Even with a more Republican district after redistricting, Luther hands it away to former Senator Peggy Gilmour due to what most pundits state plainly as – laziness.
Democrats welcome back former Senator Betty Laskey. With incumbent GOP Senator Gary Lambert retiring after just one term due to his business and Marine Corp duties, Laskey has no trouble winning back her seat.
Republican Senator Sharon Carson is re-elected.
Democrat Senator Syliva Larsen is re-elected.
This race won’t be the blow out that most people expect, but workhorse Republican Senator David Boutin will win re-election against Democrat Kathleen Kelley.
Representative John Reagan has done the same thing he did in the Primary – little to nothing. But that won’t stop him from winning given the makeup of this district. And as in his primary victory over conservative Howard Pearl, Reagan received more big financial support and a mail campaign in the General election from the well funded gay rights group headed by New York City, and former Manchester, resident Sean Owen. But he won’t win in a walk. Democrat Nancy Fraher will keep it close.
In this unique three way race with popular Independent Arthur Beaudry, Democrat Donna Soucy wins running away over Republican Representative Gail Barry. The big question is does Barry come in third. Given Ovide Lamontagne’s strong showing in Manchester, we say she probably ekes out second place over Independent Beaudry.
Republican Senator Jim Rausch wins re-election.
Democrat legend Lou D’Allesandro wins re-election.
Democrat Martha Fuller Clark wins election and is back in the state senate after two years off.
Republican Senator Chuck Morse wins re-election.
Republican Senator Russell Prescott wins his easiest race yet. He took nothing for granted, worked hard and earned this strong victory of Democrat Carol Croteau.
Republican Senator Nancy Stiles faces a stiff challenge from Democrat stalwart Beverly Hollingworth. This is a tough race to call and it will be very close but we give Stiles the edge.
The Verdict: Republicans hold the majority.