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November 06. 2012 9:46PM

Democrats likely to gain several seats in state Senate

CONCORD - The 24-seat New Hampshire Senate saw its Republican majority narrowed after voting Tuesday, although some races were still too close to call.

The current Senate majority of 19 Republicans to six Democrats was expected to take a hit with Democrats picking up seats currently held by Republicans.

Democrats were expecting to retain the seats they had and to pick up new territory in District 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 at least, while six more seats were a toss-up.

Nine of the current senators decided to retire, and of those only two were Democrats, Matthew Houde and Amanda Merrill.

It appeared 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.

Some of the most hotly contested races were still too close call, including incumbent Nancy Stiles, a Republican up against former Senate President and two-time Executive Councilor Beverly Hollingworth, a Democrat, for the District 24 Senate seat.

Those appearing to hold their seats in the Senate included Senate President Peter 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 returning to Concord was Sen. Bob Odell, R-Lempster, who was expected to defeat Christopher Wallenstein, a Democrat, for the District 8 Senate Seat.

Up in the air at 8:30 p.m. was who would take District 2, either one-term state Sen. Jeanie Forrester of Meredith, the Republican, fighting to retain her post against Democrat Bob Lamb Jr. of Holderness.

Forrester was ahead in early results and doing what Republicans expected she would do, but there was very heavy voting among Plymouth State University students in Plymouth, which may go to the Democrat.

District 4 was another toss- up which features Democrat David H. Watters, a University of New Hampshire professor from Dover against Phyllis Woods of Dover, a seat held by outgoing Republican Jim Forsythe.

District 9 was a toss-up between Democratic Manchester lawyer Lee Nyquist of New Boston, and former state Sen. Andy Sanborn of Bedford, a Republican. It was expected Sanborn would do better in Bedford but would have a harder time in the smaller towns where Nyquist was expected to do better. Nyquist took Peterborough handily, 2,324 to 1286, and won by a smaller percentage in his home town, 1,648-1,415, in early results.

Expected to remain in the blue column was the Senate 21 seat that 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 Sen. Russell Prescott of Kingston, the Republican representing District 23, was in a battle with Democrat Carol Croteau, 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 of Atkinson.

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 hoping to take the Republican seat held by outgoing Fenton Groen were state Rep. Sam Cataldo, R-Farmington, against Democrat Rich Leonard of New Durham.

Cataldo won one ward in Rochester in early results, but it was still too early to call that race at 9 p.m.

The District 5 race to replace outgoing Democrat Matthew Houde had Democrat David Pierce fighting it out with Republican Joe Osgood. The district leans Democratic.

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 Gilmor.

In District 16, Republican incumbent David Boutin was expected to hold on after a challenge by Kathleen Kelly, a Democrat, and Independent Richard Tomasso.

In District 17, a seat long held by retiring Sen. 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.

Senate President Bragdon said at 9 p.m. he was hoping that the Republicans would still hold on to a majority and was viewing as toss-ups the races in Senate Districts 12, 24, 4 and 9.


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