General election contests for state Senate take shape
CONCORD - With nine open seats out of 24, the state Senate is bound to look considerably different from how it did the past two years.
'The Senate had nine vacancies to fill, so there will be a good infusion of people both Democrats and Republicans with various backgrounds,' said Senate President Peter Bragdon, R-Milford, who survived a primary challenge. 'I would like to fill those seats with as many Republicans as possible, but (Democratic Leader) Senator (Sylvia) Larsen has a different prospective.'
But before the campaign for the general election, Republicans had several hotly contested and several bitter primary races.
In District 9, former Sen. Andy Sanborn of Bedford defeated Rep. Ken Hawkins of Bedford for the nomination by a 61 to 28 percent margin.
Michael Kenney of Bedford was also in the race.
The bitter contest included charges and countercharges and complaints to the Attorney General's Office over mailings done by independent Political Action Committees favoring Sanborn.
Sanborn now faces New Boston attorney Lee Nyquist in the general election. Nyquist, who did not have a primary opponent, has raised considerable money for the contest. Sanborn raised more than $100,000 for the primary battle.
Another hotly contested race for the Republicans was in District 7 where Laconia businessman Joshua Youssef defeated William Grimm of Franklin by 300 votes, 53 to 47 percent.
Youssef has asked the Legislature to impeach several judges involved with his divorce and custody battle.
Bragdon said that with his own primary he was not up on some of the other races, but he said the officers of the Senate Republican Political Action Committee would sit down later and determine how best to spend its money in races that have the best chance for victory.
Youssef will face Democrat Andrew Hosmer of Laconia in the general election. Hosmer ran unsuccessfully two years ago when the area was in District 4.
In District 6, former Sen. Dick Green of Rochester lost his bid for the open seat to Rep. Sam Cataldo of Farmington. Cataldo won the race by 200 votes in the redrawn district that includes Rochester and towns to the north and west.
Cataldo faces Democrat Richard Leonard of New Durham in the general election.
District 17 is an open seat after long-time Sen. Jack Barnes, R-Raymond, decided not to seek reelection.
Rep. John Reagan of Deerfield defeated Loudon businessman and farmer Howard Pearl by less than 150 votes.
Reagan chairs the House Health and Human Services Committee and was chairman of the Special House Committee on the New Hampshire State Retirement System until he was replaced by Hawkins.
Reagan faces Democrat and long-time educator Nancy Fraher of Chichester in the Nov. 6 general election.
Bragdon defended his District 11 seat by defeating Merrimack resident Daniel Dwyer by more than 1,000 votes in a district that for the first time included Merrimack.
Bragdon noted in the towns he has represented in the district he had a 80-20 percent or 75-25 percent split with Dwyer.
Democrats did not file a candidate for the district.
District 23 incumbent Russell Prescott, R-Kingston, was challenged by Dennis Acton of Fremont, who had the backing of the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire. Prescott received 77 percent of the vote to Acton's 23 percent.
Prescott faces Democrat Carol Croteau of Kingston, the founder of Bully Free NH, in the general election.
In the North Country, Debi Warner of Littleton defeated Frank Durmaine of Colebrook in the Republican primary, winning 63 percent of the vote in District 1.
Democrat Jeff Woodburn of Dalton will take on Warner in the general election. Woodburn is the former chairman of the state Democratic Party.
There were two primary contests for the District 5 seat with Republicans Cynthia Howard of Claremont losing to Joe Osgood of same city.
On the Democratic side, Rep. David Pierce of Hanover defeated former Rep. Sandy Harris of Claremont.
The District 2 race pits incumbent Jeanie Forrester, R-Meredith, against Robert Lamb, D-Holderness.
House Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, will be challenged in the District 3 race by Jeffery Ballard of Brookfield.
The newly configured District 4, which includes Dover and several surrounding communities, pits University of New Hampshire professor and Rep. David Watters, D-Dover, against former Republican National Committeewoman and former Rep. Phyllis Woods, R-Dover.
Incumbent Sen. Bob Odell, R-Lempster, faces a challenge from Christopher Wallenstein, D-Bennington, for the District 8 seat.
In District 10, Democratic incumbent Molly Kelly of Keene will be challenged by Republican Cheshire County Sheriff Richard Foote of Swanzey.
District 12 features a rematch of the 2010 race with incumbent Jim Luther, R-Hollis, facing former Sen. Peggy Gilmour, D-Hollis. Gilmour, served one term in the Senate before she was defeated by Luther in the 2010 election.
Former Sen. Bette Lasky, D-Nashua, is trying to reclaim the District 13 seat she lost to Sen. Gary Lambert, R-Nashua. Lambert decided not to run again, and this year Lasky faces Rep. Joseph Krasucki, R-Nashua.
Incumbent Republican Sharon Carson, R-Londonderry, is being challenged for the District 14 seat by Katherine Messner, D-Hudson. Libertarian Richard Kahn of Hudson is also in the race.
In the District 15 race, Senate Minority Leader Sylvia Larsen, D-Concord, faces a challenge from Lydia Dube Harman, R-Warner.
Incumbent Republican Sen. David Boutin, R-Hooksett, is being challenged by Manchester Alderman Kathleen Kelley, D-Manchester, for the District 16 seat. Libertarian Richard Tomasso of Manchester is also in the race.
Former Senate chief of staff Donna Soucy, D-Manchester, seeks the open District 18 seat. She is being challenged by Rep. J. Gail Barry, R-Manchester, and independent Authur Beaudry who sits on the Manchester Board of School Committee.
Republican incumbent Sen. Jim Rausch, R-Derry, faces a challenge for his District 19 seat from R. Christopher Reisdorf, D-Derry.
Long-time District 20 Sen. Lou D'Allesandro, R-Manchester, is being challenged by Manchester Alderman and Rep. Phil Greazzo, R-Manchester.
In the open District 21 seat, former Sen. Martha Fuller Clark, D-Portsmouth, faces off against Republican Peter Macdonald, R-Lee.
Macdonald has run for the seat before, but has been unsuccessful. In 2007, Macdonald was the target of a criminal investigation for caustic letters he sent to then U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter.
Incumbent Senator and Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Morse, R-Salem, faces a challenge for this District 22 seat by Victoria Czaia, D-Atkinson.
And Incumbent Sen. Nancy Stiles, R-Hampton, is being challenged for the District 24 seat by former Senate President and Executive Councilor Beverly Hollingworth, D-Hampton.
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Garry Rayno may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org..