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State legislature, executive council, turn from red to blue

  • Brian Beihl of Antrim campaigns outside the Antrim Town Hall on Tuesday, advocating for a blue ticket from top to bottom. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • Kevin Hampsey of Jaffrey advocates for the "blue wave" outside the Jaffrey VFW on voting day. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • Democratic supporters outside the Jaffrey VFW far outnumbered their Republican counterparts on Tuesday early afternoon. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • Democratic supporters outside the Jaffrey VFW far outnumbered their Republican counterparts on Tuesday early afternoon. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • Jim Giddings campaigns for the Democratic ticket outside the Greenville polls on Tuesday.  Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • State Representative Paul Somero shares an umbrella while speaking with a voter outside the New Ipswich polls on Tuesday.  Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • April Merlino campaigns for her husband, Tim Merlino, with her daughter Olivia, outside the polls in New Ipswich.  Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • State Representative John Hunt speaks to constituents outside of the Rindge polls on Tuesday.  Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Campaigners carried on despite rain and wind that knocked over signs outside of the Rindge polls on Tuesday.  Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • State Representative hopeful Patricia Martin campaigns outside the Rindge polls despite the rain on Tuesday. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Peterborough voters turned out at the polls Tuesday in high numbers. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • Peterborough voters turned out at the polls Tuesday in high numbers. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • Peterborough voters turned out at the polls Tuesday in high numbers. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • Peterborough voters turned out at the polls Tuesday in high numbers. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • Peterborough voters turned out at the polls Tuesday in high numbers. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • Peterborough voters turned out at the polls Tuesday in high numbers. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • Voters turned out to Peterborough's community center in droves Tuesday to cast their ballots in the midterm election. Staff photo by Ben Conant

  • Voters turned out to Peterborough's community center in droves Tuesday to cast their ballots in the midterm election. Staff photo by Ben Conant

  • Voters turned out to Peterborough's community center in droves Tuesday to cast their ballots in the midterm election. Staff photo by Ben Conant

  • First time voter Katie Whitaker, 18, of Peterborough picks up a ballot with your younger siblings Ethan, 9, and Ashley, 5, in tow during the midterm election Tuesday at the Peterborough Community Center. Staff photo by Ben Conant



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, November 07, 2018 10:55PM

Governor Chris Sununu will be carrying into his second term in office, a bright spot for Republicans in an election where a surge of voters has flipped control of the state House and Senate into Democratic hands.

Historically, it’s common for the party that doesn’t hold the power in the White House to see bigger turnout during midterm and special elections, and that has held true for Democrats in 2018, both locally and nationally. New Hampshire Democrats capturing the legislature mirrors the national stage, where Democrats have also flipped enough seats in the U.S. House of Representatives to gain a majority. 

However, while there has been a reversal in the House, the U.S. Senate has not only remained red, but made gains, increasing the number of Republicans in the 100-seat Senate from 51 to 54. Namely, Republicans were able to flip Senate seats in Indiana, Missouri, Florida and North Dakota.

Voting numbers were up, locally. Peterborough, a traditionally Democratic town, had a 60 percent voter turnout, nearly equal to the turnout for the presidential election in 2016.

New Ipswich, a Republican-led polling town, smashed expectations for voter turnout, said Town Clerk Jessica Olson. 2,191 people came out to vote — about 60 percent of the voter checklist.

“We’ve never had a line for registrations. Yesterday, the table was full and there was a line of 14 people at one point,” Olson said. “Usually, for a midterm, I think we’d be happy to see 800 or 900 people. Over 2,000 is huge.”

New Ipswich wasn’t the only town to see a lot of same-day registrants. Rindge signed up 232 new voters, and had over 57 percent turnout. Wilton signed up 158 new voters and had 62 percent turnout. 

A 60 percent turnout or above is more in line with a presidential election than a midterm election, which generally have closer to 40 percent turnout rates. This year’s increase is a contrast to the most recent mid-term in 2014, when voting rates had dipped to 36.4 percent nationally, the lowest average in decades. 

Harry Young, a member of the Jaffrey Democrats, said Jaffrey had a line out the door when polls opened.

“We’re at about a thousand people right now, which is crazy for midterms,” Young said, when interviewed in the early afternoon.


”When we opened this morning, we had them out the door, across the parking lot, and down the side of the parking lot,” Young said. “The last time we saw that many people was the presidential election. This is just crazy.”

On the state side, it was not only the legislative bodies of New Hampshire where Democrats took control. The state’s Executive Council also saw a change of power. Prior to the election, three of the council’s five seats were held by Republicans. Following the election, with almost all districts reporting, it appears Democrats have taken control.

In District 2, which includes Dublin and Hancock, the race has been called for Democrat Andru Volinsky held his seat, keeping the district blue. 

In District 5, Democrat Debora Pignatelli led over Republican incumbent Dave Wheeler, which would flip that district. With 95 percent of precincts reporting, Pignatelli was leading over incumbent Wheeler by a little over 5,000 votes. With a similar gap between Republican incumbent Joseph Kenney and Democratic challenger Michael Cryans in district 1, with Cryans in the lead, it’s likely Democrats will take the majority.

 "The executive council is almost as important as the Governor. They're involved in all decisions the Governor makes that have to do with money, which is most of them,” Jim Giddings, a Greenville Democrat who was campaigning on Tuesday.

In addition to the state legislature, New Hampshire’s two U.S. Congressional districts remained Democratic after Tuesday’s election.

In District 2, Ann McLane Kuster kept her seat with a healthy 56 percent of the vote with 97 percent of districts reporting, winning over GOP challenger Steven Negron, who gained 42 percent of the vote.

In District 1, Democrat Chris Pappas will succeed outgoing Representative Carol Shea Porter, keeping the district blue.