GOP may have edged out 13-11 majority in state Senate
By PAULA TRACY New Hampshire Union Leader
CONCORD -- Republicans may have edged out a 13-11 majority in the State Senate by only 210 votes, but a recount is likely for Senate District 9.
That would be the call for Lee Nyquist to make. The Democrat was going up against former Sen. Andrew Sanborn who at the end of the night told Republicans he thought he won by about 210 votes.
When the results for Mont Vernon came in, going for Sanborn by fewer than 200 votes, Nyquist wrote on his Facebook page to stay tuned for information on whether or not he would ask for a recount.
The night was ugly for Republicans in the Senate who now enjoy an 18-6 majority.
Senate President Peter Bragdon was watching closely races in three districts which he thought Republicans could be in trouble.
They were Senate District 12 where Republican incument Jim Luther was up against a charging Peggy Gilmore; Senate District 4 where Professor David Watters of Dover, a Democrat was gaining on Republican Phyllis Woods; and Senate District 9, the Nyquist-Sanborn race.
Nyquist lost Bedford, as expected, but won many of the smaller towns by large enough margins to eked out a victory.
Earlier in the evening Bragdon was also worried about Senate District 24, where former Senate President Bev Hollingworth, a Democrat, was challenging Republican Nancy Stiles, both of Hampton. Hollingworth conceded to Stiles before 11 p.m., however.
At that hour, all eyes were on Senate District 2 in which Republican incumbent Jeanie Forrester of Meredith was barely holding on, and Plymouth numbers were not in, likely favoring Democratic challenger Robert C. Lamb Jr. of Holderness.
By the early morning hours it was looking like a possible 13-11 margin or a 12-12 tie which would force a brokerage of power agreement
Democrats were expecting to retain the seats they had and were expected to be picking up new territory in Distrcit 18 with Democrat Donna Soucy of Manchester; District 1 with Jeff Woodburn and District 13 with Betty Lasky likely defeating Jospeh Krascuki for a seat held by outgoing Sen. Gary Lambert.
Republicans were expected to retain at least nine seats.
Nine of the current senators decided to retire and of that only two were Democrats, Matthew Houde and Amanda Merrill.
It appeared early that the newly formed District 7 seat was going to Democrat Andrew Hosmer of Laconia over Republican Josh Youssef with four of six Laconia wards going for Hosmer 2,930 to Youssef 2,078.
Holding safely their seats in the Senate included Senate President Bragdon of District 11 who has been in office since 2004, Republican Majority Leader and former Congressman Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, in District 3; Democrats Lou D'Allesandro of Manchester for District 20, and Sylvia Larsen of Concord in District 15. Also likely returing to Concord was Sen. Bob Odell, R-Lempster, who was expected to defeat Christopher Wallenstein, a Democrat, for the District 8 Senate seat.
Expected to remain in the blue column was the State Senate 21 seat which Amanda Merrill is vacating. Former State Sen. Martha Fuller Clark of Portsmouth appeared to be winning over Republican Peter Macdonald of Lee, a Vietnam veteran.
State Senator Russell Prescott of Kingston the Republican representing Disctrict 23 was in a battle with Carol Croteau, a Democrat, also of Kingston.
District 22 three-term incumbent Chuck Morse, a Salem Republican, was expected to hold on to his seat over Democrat Victoria Czaia, an Atkinson resident.
Another incumbent, Jim Rausch of District 19, was being challenged by Democrat R. Christopher Reisdorf. Both are Derry residents with a lot of local political experience, but Rausch was expected to win.
In the redrawn District 6, taking the Republican seat held by outgoing Fenton Groen was state Rep. Sam Cataldo, R-Farmington, who defeated Democrat Rich Leonard of New Durham. Cataldo is a pharmacist and farmer hoping to find more money for higher education.
The District 5 race to replace outgoing Democrat Matthew Houde had Democrat David Pierce beating Republican Joe Osgood.
State Sen. Molly Kelly, a Democrat, was expected to hold on to the District 10 seat over Republican Richard Foote.
A toss-up was a rematch from 2010 featuring Hollis residents Jim Luther, the Republican incumbent in District 12, and Peggy Gilmour, the Democrat, and it looked like a Gilmour win.
In District 16, Republican incumbent David Boutin was expected to hold on following a challenge by Kathleen Kelly a Democrat and Independent Richard Tomasso.
In District 17, a seat long held by retiring Senator Jack Barnes, a Republican, was being contested between John Reagan, the Republican who appeared to be winning over Nancy Fraher, a Democrat.
Also expected to hold on to her seat for the Republicans was Sharon Carson of District 14 over Democrat Katherine Messner and Independent Richard Kahn.