Dietsch falls to Ricciardi in District 9

  • Denise Ricciardi at the polls in Bedford Tuesday. Photo by Meghan Pierce

  • Jeanne Dietsch at the polls in Bedford Tuesday. Photo by Meghan Pierce—

Granite State News Collaborative
Published: 11/4/2020 5:56:30 PM

Incumbent New Hampshire State Senator Jeanne Dietsch (D-Peterborough) lost her repeat bid to challenger Denise Ricciardi (R-Bedford) by about 400 votes. 

“I just want to thank all my colleagues, supporters and family for all they've done over the past few years. It has been an honor to serve Senate District 9,” Dietsch said in a statement Wednesday.

Dietsch was seeking a second term in the state senate representing District 9, which includes Bedford, Dublin, Fitzwilliam, Greenfield, Hancock, Jaffrey, Lyndeborough, Mont Vernon, New Boston, Peterborough, Richmond, Sharon, Temple and Troy.

Dietsch said Monday she is at a great disadvantage in the race since Bedford comprises 40 percent of the District 9 vote and is heavily Republican.

Dietsch won her hometown of Peterborough with 2,833 votes to Ricciardi’s 1,429, but lost Bedford with only 6,277 votes to Ricciardi’s 7,868 votes.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting the tally sits at 17,920 Ricciardi and 17,508 Dietsch.

Outside of the Peterborough polls on Tuesday, State Rep. Ivy Vann (D-Peterborough) said during this election cycle, like many in recent years, Democrats have been tarred with accusations of trying to create a state income tax. Vann won her seat easily Tuesday with 2,604 votes along with fellow Democrat Peter R. Leishman (D-Peterborough) who had 2,731 votes, winning the two seats that represent solely the town of Peterborough against challenging Republicans Christopher Maidment, 1,361, and David E. Pilcher, 1,171.

“I think Jeanne has been a good senator. She works hard. I think she understands the issues. I was sad to see – and this is not just about Jeanne – in general I think the Republicans have been pretty disingenuous with their messaging about the Democrats. They have run less on what they stand for and more on ‘Oh my God these Democrats are doing these terrible things.’ And a lot of it is incorrect. Not to put too sharp a point on it, they are lies,” Vann said. “I think one of the things I think is fascinating is 65 percent or better of Americans support the projects that are in the Democratic platform. Especially if you show them to people without any partisan tag on them. They say, ‘Oh yes we need these things. We need to protect the environment, we need better funding for our schools. We need social security. We need family leave.’ People want these things.”

Leishman said the District 9 race seems to be less about the issues and more about politics.

“She’s in a tough district. That race will be close,” Leishman said. “I think it’s pretty much partisan. You got a Democrat and a Republican.”

During the race Dietsch was accused of trying to bring in a state income tax, which is not entirely accurate, Leishman said.

Republican voter David Dewitt of Dublin, campaigning for Trump in Peterborough Tuesday, said he supports Ricciardi because he is opposed to a state income tax and supports charter schools. He also didn’t like comments Dietsch made earlier this year about non-college educated parents’ ability to pick high school courses for their children.

“She’s kind of an elitist-type person,” Dewitt said. “I don’t think she likes charter schools and I think charter schools are a good option for some people.”

Dewitt added that while he doesn’t know Ricciardi as well as Dietsch he knows she is popular in Bedford for her volunteer work. “She’s just, in a sense more like Trump, she’s just more of a regular people-person,” he said.

Dietsch defended herself against the charge that she doesn’t like charter schools, while campaigning in Bedford Tuesday, saying that she supports charter schools, but did recently vote against funding from the federal government to start such schools.

“The reason that we didn’t accept the federal money for charter schools was because that money was earmarked to only go into the startup of the schools. Since New Hampshire does not fund charter schools other than the adequacy funding … most of these schools are hanging by a thread,” she said. “It makes no sense to start more schools when the ones you have are already struggling because of the rules we have regarding charter schools.”

Dietsch said she hopes to get reelected to continue working toward doing away with the disparity the state’s current education funding formula has created for New Hampshire public schools, which is the real issue that drives the need for education alternatives such as charter schools.

“I love the Monadnock Region. I love the way of life here and I want to help protect it and fix the problems that are making it hard for some people to live here,” Dietsch said on Monday.

Dietsch also defended herself against the accusation she is pushing for a state income tax, saying the recent Family Paid Leave Act, which she supported, did not include an income tax.

“What the Republicans are doing is they are taking an insurance payment and calling an insurance payment an income tax,” she said. “It was never an income tax. If you buy insurance is that an income tax? No. They are calling it an income tax because the insurance payment would come out of your wages.”

Dietsch added New Hampshire already has an income tax.

“I’ll tell you what’s an income tax though, interest and dividends. That’s an income tax. We pay interest and dividends. It’s untrue to say New Hampshire doesn’t have an income tax. I’ve paid it every single year I’ve lived here. They say, ‘Oh it’s the New Hampshire advantage that we don’t have an income tax. But we do have an income tax.”

Ricciardi said at the polls in Bedford Tuesday that the Paid Family Leave Act Dietsch supported was going to be funded by an income tax. “It is a true statement,” she said, urging people to look up the bill and see for themselves.

Ricciardi defended herself against what she said was the Democrats’ smear against her during the election, which was to post orange signs around the district stating she “stands with Trump.”

“I’m focusing on here because this is what I can fix. I don’t care if you are a Democrat, a Republican or an independent. I want to work for you and take care of you. So I’m just focusing on that. I have made zero comments on a national level. They did that. But it backfired because a lot of people keep thanking me and I say, ‘They’re not mine,” Ricciardi said.

Ashton Knoll of Bedford said she supports Ricciardi because she supports conservative values.

“I do not support income taxes and I do think Denise is going to keep our state from getting an income tax,” she said. Knoll added that Ricciardi also supports the right to life and the 2nd Amendment, like her.

Ricciardi said she doesn’t like the partisanship of the race and hopes to leave that behind if she wins. “I don’t believe in income and sales taxes. I stand by that. I believe that makes New Hampshire New Hampshire. But one of the important things I believe is I don’t like the divisiveness of politics. I am really about the people. And for me if elected I want to work across the aisle because at the end of the day we all have worries about our families and our healthcare and our children and we need to focus on that instead.”


These articles are being shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative. For more information visit

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