GOP candidates win most representative seats in Salem
SALEM – Voters in Pelham, Salem and Windham were out in full force for the Nov. 6 elections, where depending on the time of the day, some waited for up to several hours to cast their ballots.
It was an impressive turnout in Windham, with the final tally one for the town’s record books.
By 11 a.m., nearly a quarter of the town’s 10,000 or so registered voters had already cast their ballots inside the new high school.
By day’s end, 8,337 votes had been cast, representing over 81 percent of the town’s registered voters. Seven hundred and thirty-four of those residents registered at the polls.
President Barack Obama won four more years in the top office, and Democrat Maggie Hassan swept Ovide Lamontagne in the New Hampshire governor’s race. But Windham’s four Republican incumbents maintained their state representative seats with Rep. Mary Griffin earning 4,963 votes, Rep. Charles McMahon with 4,459, Rep. Kevin Waterhouse with 4,232 and Rep. Walter Kolodziej earning 3,815 votes, all higher than those of Democratic challengers Carolyn Webber, at 3,073; Kristi St. Laurent, 2,972; Neil Fallon, 1,971; and Tony Keevan, 1,778.
Town Moderator Peter Griffin said the majority of residents cooperated with the new voter ID regulations, and only a small handful had opted to submit voter affidavits.
“I haven’t had any complaints yet,” Griffin said halfway through the day. “In fact, people seem to welcome this.”
Town Clerk Nicole Merrill said she’d planned ahead for this election and enlisted the help of a few extra ballot clerks to make sure things ran smoothly.
“We’ve seen a lot of new voters out here today,” said Merrill, motioning to the line of around 30 residents waiting to register.
In Salem, local voters visited four different polling locations – Fisk, North Salem and Lancaster schools and at the Ingram Senior Center.
Last year, the town had two additional polling centers in place, and several residents waiting in line at this week’s polls were overheard questioning why that wasn’t the case this year.
Traffic was heavy outside the Ingram Senior Center Tuesday morning, where parked vehicles lined Sally Sweet’s Way all the way to Geremonty Drive.
A line of voters braved the chilly autumn air as they waited outside the senior center – some reportedly waiting up to 90 minutes – to cast their ballots, with a line of people snaking down the front door’s ramps and circling around the parking lot.
Seventy-five percent, or 14,597, of Salem voters participated in this year’s elections.
The town’s top votes for state representative candidates went to all GOP candidates: Ron Belanger, 6,519; Gary Azarian, 6,504; and John Sytek, 6,399; followed by Joe Sweeney, 6,287; Robert Elliot, 5,996; Marilinda Garcia, 5,877; Anne Priestly, 5,808; Biana Garcia, 5,660; and Patrick Bick, 4,931. Their Democratic challengers, none of whom prevailed, were Michael Murray, with 4,810 votes, Susan Desmet, 4,753; John Murphy, 4,134; Rebecca Fee, 4,082; Ralph Stein, 4,051; Carmon Iannalfo, 3,907; Dee Lewis, 3,709; Lawson Brouse, 3,659; and Harley Featherston, 3,449.
Inside Pelham High School, voters lined up from the front door all the way around the parking lot a half hour before the doors opened, Town Clerk Dorothy Marsden said.
Shortly after 8:40 a.m., more than 1,000 residents had already voted, according to Town Moderator Philip Currier.
Currier said there were no major issues at this year’s elections, and folks were “generally pretty cooperative” about the new voter ID laws.
With 22 state representative candidates in this year’s election, most of the top vote earners were Republicans: Lynne Ober (3,240), Charlene Takesian (3,144), Patrick Culbert (2,809), Russell Ober III (2735), Lars Christiansen (2,667), Bob Haefner (2,546), Kevin McGuire (2,481), Shawn Jasper (2,472), Richard DeLavasseur (2,470), Jordan Ulery (2426) and Andy Renzullo (2352).
Harold Lynde, a Democratic candidate with 2,744 votes, also earned a seat in the State House, as did Mary Ann Knowles with 2,091 votes.
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