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Dems win two more NH House seats; Incumbent mayors win around state

New Hampshire Union Leader

November 07. 2017 10:59PM

New Hampshire Republicans came close but fell just short of breaking a legislative special election winning streak for Democrats with a tight contest in Manchester’s Ward 8.

Democrat Erika Connors narrowly won by 20 votes over Republican Albert MacArthur Jr., 1,198 to 1,178.

What was frustrating for local GOP leaders was other Republicans won in Ward 8 Tuesday, including Jimmy Lehoux, who defeated Connors in her bid to be reelected to the Manchester school committee.

“Losing by such a small outcome is always tough,” said Greg Moore, state director of Americans for Prosperity, the fiscally conservative, non-profit group that supported MacArthur’s bid.

MacArthur is a commercial truck driver while Connors is owner of the Melody Pines Day Camp.

MacArthur defeated firefighter Andrew Parent in a September GOP primary, while Connors was unopposed in her party.

Connors takes the House seat that Republican Steve Vaillancourt had off and on for 20 years until his sudden death last spring.

The other special election for a House seat was not as close in Sullivan County, a four-town district that consists of Cornish, Grantham, Plainfield and Springfield.

Democrat Brian Sullivan of Grantham easily defeated Republican Margaret Drye of Plainfield, 1,297 to 671.

Sullivan is a retired labor negotiator for public school teachers, while Drye is a mother of seven and a longtime emergency medical technician in neighboring towns.

Sullivan replaces Democrat Andrew Smith, who resigned the seat in June because he had moved to New London.

The Democrats enjoyed a party registration advantage over the GOP in this district.

For all of 2017, Democrats won eight of 10 special elections, seven for nine for seats in the House and one in the state Senate.

Mayors’ races

In other local elections, incumbent mayors did very well.

Concord Mayor and State House lobbyist Jim Bouley, a Democrat, cruised to victory, as did Berlin Mayor Paul Grenier.

In Keene, moderate Republican Kendall Lane won another term as mayor.

On the Seacoast, Portsmouth Mayor Jack Blalock held onto his seat as he was again the top vote-getter in the election for City Council.

Caroline McCarley, a former, Democratic state senator, was reelected as mayor of Rochester, defeating former Mayor Doug Lachance, among other candidates.

And Dover Mayor Karen Weston easily won another term.

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