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Vote expected today on vacant Nashua state representative seat

Union Leader Correspondent

December 11. 2012 12:16PM

NASHUA - Tuesday night, city aldermen are expected to vote on an emergency proposal that, if approved by the Board of Aldermen, would request that the Governor and Council declare a special election to fill the vacancy left by state representative-elect Stacie Laughton.

Laughton, a Democrat, made state and national history in November when she was elected the first openly transgender legislator in the country. She was elected to represent District 31, Ward 4, in Nashua. However, after news surfaced about her previous life as a convicted felon under the name of Barry C. Laughton Jr. in Laconia, Laughton signed her letter of resignation live on cable access television on Nov. 29.

Now, aldermen must decide what to do with the vacant state representative seat. Alderman Brian McCarthy, board president, has filed proposed legislation asking that his fellow board members vote Tuesday on a request that the Governor and Council declare a special election to fill the now-vacant position.

The cost of the special election is estimated at $2,175. However, some aldermen have questioned the need for a special election, posting on various social networking sites that the runner-up in the election should be given the seat. In that case, the position would be given to Republican Elizabeth VanTwuyer, who collected 754 votes. Laughton received 1,588 votes, which secured her position, along with fellow Democrats David E. Cote with 1,874 votes and Mary Gorman with 1,866 votes.

Republicans VanTwuyer and Richard Heitmiller (732 votes) lost in the election.

Because the Governor and Council have a meeting planned for Dec. 19, aldermen are being asked to review the legislation promptly.

According to the city's legal counsel, a primary election could be held either Feb. 5 or Feb. 12, and a general election could be scheduled for either April 9 or April 16. If this is accepted, the filing period for the special election would take place on Dec. 24 at the Secretary of State's Office, and from Dec. 26 to Dec. 28 at the City Clerk's Office.

After the November election, Democrats claimed 24 seats in Nashua's House delegation, and Republicans garnered only three seats - a similar ratio that existed in 2008.

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