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July 07. 2011 10:50PM

Union member wins GOP House primary

CONCORD — Voters in a Republican primary election held this week rejected a GOP establishment candidate and chose a union member.

The choice of Kevin Janvrin, a veteran Seabrook firefighter, is likely to dampen GOP efforts to override Gov. John Lynch’s veto of the right-to-work bill. Janvrin defeated Louis Gargiulo of Hampton Falls, who had the support of former state GOP chairman John Sununu, Congressman Frank Guinta, former gubernatorial candidates John Stephen and Ovide Lamontagne and others.

Janvrin was well supported by union groups inside and outside the state. He will face Democrat Ryan Mahoney of South Hampton in a September general election. Mahoney is New Hampshire Senate Democratic caucus director.

The special election is being conducted in House District 14, encompassing Seabrook, South Hampton, Hampton Falls and Kensington to fill the seat left vacant when Rep. Gary Wheaton, R-Seabrook, resigned. Wheaton later changed his mind and ran for his own seat again, but got only 16 votes this week. Janvrin won 436 and Gargiulo got 318.

The GOP’s choice of Janvrin comes as Republicans struggle to build enough of a voting bloc to override the right-to-work veto. The bill, HB 474, would ban unions from collecting partial dues payments from non-member to cover the costs of negotiating and enforcing collective bargaining agreements.

Speaker of the House William O’Brien has been unable to build the two-thirds majority he needs to push Lynch’s veto aside.

Janvrin said Thursday that if he is elected, he might abstain from a vote on whether to override the veto. But he could be persuaded to weigh in, he said.

“I am not in favor of right-to-work, but the verdict is still out. There’s a lot more information to be heard and considered,” he said. “I just want to listen to the people in the district and be their voice. If they tell me to vote on it, I will.”


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