Democrats Gain New Hampshire House Seats While Maintaining Federal Seats

Democrats Gain New Hampshire House Seats While Maintaining Federal Seats

On Tuesday, Democrats confounded the projections of pollsters at both the federal and state levels of the election.

As of lunchtime on Wednesday, the New Hampshire House Clerk Paul Smith was awaiting the results of five House elections. However, he indicated in a tweet that a party gap of 200-200 was “quite possible.” The Republicans presently hold a majority of 24 seats in the Senate.

On Tuesday, the Republicans in the House of Representatives lost a few prominent members.

  • Rep. Karen Umberger of Kearsarge, chair of the powerful Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee, won’t be returning after serving 12 years. Democrats claimed the three seats in Umberger’s newly drawn House district.
  • First-term Rep. Melissa Blasek of Merrimack, named assistant majority leader in September, placed ninth in a district with eight seats. Black is also the executive director of Rebuild NH, a liberty-minded group that led the opposition to pandemic lockdowns and vaccine mandates. While Black lost, most of the nearly 150 candidates Rebuild NH endorsed won their races.
  • Also defeated was Rep. Kurt Wuelper of Strafford, the vice president of New Hampshire Right to Life and head of the House anti-abortion caucus. Wuelper, in his eighth year, had planned to reintroduce legislation next session banning abortion after six weeks after seeing it fail this year.
  • Rep. Dawn Johnson of Laconia, serving her first term, was targeted by Citizens for Belknap County, a political action committee, for co-sponsoring a bill that would have given county officials control of Gunstock Mountain. The group also noted that Johnson shared a social media post from a neo-Nazi group. Johnson later apologized.
  • On the Democratic side, Rep. Jerry Kirk of Freedom lost his bid for a fourth term. Kirk, a physician, helped lead the fight against colleagues and members of the public who questioned the validity of the COVID-19 vaccine, the virus itself, and government-imposed restrictions.
  • Meanwhile, Rep. Dan Wolf of Newbury held onto his seat. Wolf had been targeted by anti-abortion groups for sponsoring legislation seeking to add exceptions to the state’s 24-week abortion ban for rape, incest, and fatal fetal anomalies. Only the fatal fetal anomaly exception passed.
Democrats Gain New Hampshire House Seats While Maintaining Federal Seats
Democrats Gain New Hampshire House Seats While Maintaining Federal Seats

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In the state Senate, both the Democrats and the Republicans were able to gain a member, but it appeared that the Republicans would maintain their control.

Shannon Chandley, a former state senator, prevailed in her race against Republican Sen. Gary Daniels, the head of the Senate Finance Committee, by a margin of about 3 percentage points. In 2018, Daniels was defeated by Chandley for the seat, but he was able to reclaim it in 2020. Daniels is currently completing his third term in the Senate. Both candidates have prior experience serving in the House for numerous terms.

June Trisciani, a Republican candidate from Manchester who conducted a write-in campaign and was backed by the party, was trailing behind Keith Murphy, a Republican who was supported by the Liberty Alliance. They are vying for the position that is now occupied by Democratic Senator Kevin Cavanaugh of Manchester, who resigned to vie for a seat on the Executive Council.

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Cavanaugh was unsuccessful in his attempt to oust Councilor Ted Gatsas from his position. If neither party wins any new seats, the Republicans will continue to govern the Senate with a 14-10 majority.

It seems likely that Republicans will continue to hold control of the Executive Council. When at least 80 per cent of the ballots were counted, the four Republican incumbents on the council were in the lead. Cinde Warmington of Rye, the sole Democrat on the council, and Janet Stevens of Rye and Gatsas, both Republicans, had won their re-election bids as of the early afternoon hours on election day.

At the federal level, the Republican contenders endorsed by Donald Trump fared much worse than their incumbent Democratic opponents. Significant margins separated the two groups. Sen. Maggie Hassan won her election against Don Bolduc by a margin of over 10 percentage points, and Rep. Chris Pappas won his race against Karoline Leavitt by a margin of nearly 7 percentage points.

Rep. Annie Kuster prevailed against Robert Burns in the race for the 2nd Congressional District by a margin of over 13 percentage points. During their concession statements late Tuesday night, Bolduc and Leavitt appeared to accept the results of the election, even though they had earlier claimed the election in 2020 was rigged.

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