April 04. 2017 10:20PM

McLean, Morin to square off for vacant House District 44 seat

New Hampshire Union Leader

Two Manchester residents will square off in a general election after winning their party primaries for a vacant seat in the New Hampshire House of Representatives.

The election set for May 23 will choose who will replace longtime state Rep. Andre Martel, R-Manchester, who died last December, weeks after having been sworn in to a fifth term.

Mark McLean, 43 Forest Hill Way, won the GOP primary handily over George Lambert of Litchfield, 145 to 37.

James R. Morin, 281 Calef Road, captured the Democratic nomination, defeating Ryan Curran, 221 West Shore Ave., 110 to 61.

This Hillsborough County District 44 seat includes Manchester Wards 8 and 9 and Litchfield.

Only 353 voters turned out.

Both Lambert and McLean are former state representatives.

Lambert served for nearly a decade in a House district that included Manchester wards and the town of Litchfield.

He ran in this same district last fall, losing to Martel in the Republican primary by 104 votes.

Mark Proulx, a Manchester Republican, was the top vote-getter in that district, which elects two members to the 400-person House.

McLean had won a House seat in 2014 representing only Manchester Ward 8.

In 2016, McLean lost in the 2016 general election by 90 votes to Manchester Republican Rep. Steve Vaillancourt. On March 26, Vaillancourt died after suffering a sudden illness.

For this campaign, McLean had the support of the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance.

According to his campaign biography, McLean is a native of Canada who came to America in 1994 and has worked in the manufacturing field.

"I see the pressure to spend the people’s money continuing to grow, and I understand that the prudent use of our financial resources is essential if we want to avoid a broad-based income or sales tax and all the baggage that comes with it," McLean wrote in a message to voters.

Lambert said the race got very little publicity and came after weary voters had to slog through a blizzard to attend town meeting a few weeks ago.

"We all stood in the horrible rain and saw very few voters go by," Lambert said.

Democrats Morin and Curran both ran for House seats in 2016 and lost in the general election to Republican nominees.

Morin ran in this same district last fall, losing to Martel in the general election by 761 votes.

In 2016, Curran finished fourth in a Manchester Ward 8 general election contest that elected two House members.

Wolfeboro winner

In another special election for a House seat Tuesday, Wolfeboro voters picked Matthew J. Plache over Seamus Oscalaidhe in a GOP primary.

Plache had the backing of Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro.

He now faces Democrat Edith DesMaris in a May 23 special election. She had no primary opponent

This vacancy was created when Rep. Harold Parker, R-Wolfeboro, resigned Jan. 5 to serve as a staff adviser to Gov. Chris Sununu, R-Newfields.

Republican State Chairman Jeanie Forrester issued a statement congratulating the winners.