Town officials in Bedford will ask the governor and Executive Council for permission to host a special election to fill the seat left vacant when Rep. David Danielson, R-Bedford, died last month.
The town council voted 4-3 on Wednesday in support of the special election after representatives from the Bedford NH Democrats Committee asked that the seat be filled and representatives from the Bedford Republican Committee asked that the seat remain vacant, at least for now.
“We believe that with close to a year-and-a-half remaining in the legislative term, it is very important to fill this state representative seat to ensure that Bedford residents receive proper representation,” Katy Cutshall, co-chair of the Bedford NH Democrats Committee, told the council.
Bart Fromuth, chairman of the Bedford Republicans Committee, encouraged the council not to seek a special election.
“It really doesn’t make sense to call upon the taxpayers to fund a one-versus-one special election when it really is not going to have any outcome in terms of the makeup of the House of Republicans,” said Plymouth, noting the split is 212 Republicans to 187 Democrats.
The town clerk, Sally Kellar, said the cost of the special election will be about $9,850. If a primary election is not needed, it will be closer to $4,925.
She suggested that the primary election, if warranted, be held on Aug. 24, and that the special election be held on Oct. 12.
“With the small turnout that we will get, forget about other towns because we will get a small turnout, and how effective one person can be in this. How many, 400 people up there? I am against it only because of the taxpayers and I don’t want to encumber their money,” said David Gilbert, chairman of the town council.
Kelleigh Murphy, a town councilor, said the issue appears to be political and is falling along party lines.
Murphy, who was a Democrat when she was previously elected to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen in Manchester, was a Republican when she was previously elected as a Bedford state representative.
“I finally came to terms with the fact that I cannot choose and so I am a registered undeclared,” Murphy said. “I don’t have a dog in this fight, I just think it is the right thing to do,” she said of the special election.
Town officials are hoping their request will be considered by the governor and Executive Council at its meeting next week.
Danielson, 74, died on May 22 at the age of 74. He had been a state representative since 2012, and previously served as a Bedford town councilor and planning board member.