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November 28. 2012 9:17PM

From Fla., Rep.-elect Thompson says he plans to resign the seat

CONCORD - Democrat Robert Thompson, who won one of two Hillsborough County District 9 seats representing Manchester Ward 2, will resign from his position as representative-elect due to residency issues.

Thompson lists Sunshine, Fla., as his home on his Facebook page and reportedly moved to the state earlier this month.

Two people who ran for the seat have indicated interest in running in a special election for the seat. They are Republican Rep. Winford Hutchinson, who finished third in the November election, and Democrat Thomas Evans, who ran in the Democratic primary but lost to Thompson and Linda DiSilvestro, the top vote getter in both the primary and general election.

In November, Thompson defeated Hutchinson for the final spot by more than 270 votes.

The other Republican in the race, Rep. Michael Ball, who was the chair of the Manchester delegation, said he will not seek the open seat.

"I spoke to Win and he is going to seek the seat," Ball said. "I will do everything I can to help Win win that seat."

Ball said Hutchinson should have won the general election. "Now people will have the opportunity to correct their ways," Ball said.

House Democratic leader Terie Norelli, who is expected to be elected House Speaker on Organization Day Dec. 5, said Wednesday Thompson has contacted her and said he had moved to Florida.

She said he is in the process of submitting a letter of resignation.

Secretary of State Bill Gardner said Thompson needs to submit a letter saying he is resigning from his position as representative-elect.

Thompson's name will be read among the winners of the general election at Organization Day, and then his resignation will be announced, Gardner said.

Thompson previously served as a representative during the 2009-10 session and was one of several dozen same-sex couples who wed Jan. 1, 2010, on the State House steps when the state's gay marriage law went into effect.

A special election for Thompson's replacement will have to be requested by the Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen and then approved by the Executive Council.

Another special election is likely if Rep.-elect Stacie Laughton, a Nashua Democrat, resigns or is found ineligible to serve due to a past felony conviction.

House Speaker William O'Brien said the two episodes do not bode well for Democrats.

"It doesn't speak well for the Democrats' recruiting efforts if they could not identify better candidates for state representative than convicted felons who have not completed their sentence and people who truly live out of state," O'Brien said. "These sad episodes paint the entire House in a bad light and demonstrate the need to get back to electing individuals who are committed to serving the people honorably. What is even more disturbing is the fact that a convicted felon from Nashua who is still serving a suspended sentence now thinks that this would be a good profile for the New Hampshire House of Representatives, despite the fact it violates state law and has removed what was an appropriate resignation." If both Thompson and Laughton resign before the new House is sworn into office, the partisan makeup of the House will be 219 Democrats and 179 Republicans.

grayno@unionleader.com

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