ABC New Hampshire & Vermont News
NH Primary Election RecapLast week voters in NH went to the polls to vote in the State’s primary. I wanted to provide a quick summary of the results as well as some comments on what we may expect in the General Election.
Incumbent Chris Sununu did not have an opponent and was therefore easily nominated to be the Republican nominee.
On the Democratic side former State Senator Molly Kelly easily defeated Steve Marchand to gain the Democratic nomination 65%-35%. Kelly was the establishment pick and she had all the money and although Marchand ran two years ago for Governor and has been pretty much running full time for the last two years, he was unable to tap into the same grassroots network that Bernie Sanders used to easily defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 NH primary.
Experts predict the Governor will be re-elected in November, but given the Democrat wave that is anticipated it will be a closer election then otherwise would happen given his popularity in the State.
CD-1: With the retirement of Cong. Shea-Porter, we had an open seat with a primary battle on both sides. On the Democratic side, current Executive Councilor and popular restaurant owner in Manchester, Chris Pappas easily won in a crowded 11 person field. His primary opponent was Maura Sullivan and she could not overcome the “carpetbagger” label. She moved here less than a year ago to specifically run for this seat. Pappas, like Kelly, had the backing of the establishment in the Democratic party. His name ID and establishment backing helped him overcome being heavily outspent by Sullivan. Pappas won 42%-30% with no other candidate reaching double digits.
Pappas will face Eddie Edward in the general election. Edwards, in somewhat of an upset, defeated State Senator Andy Sanborn for the Republican nomination 48%-41%.
This truly is a swing district that leans Republican, but in a democratic wave with a strong candidate like Pappas, it will be a race to watch.
CD-2: Democratic Incumbent Annie Kuster had no primary challenge for this seat. On the Republican side, there were 3 major candidates competing to take on Kuster. At the time of writing this, the race for GOP candidate was too close to call.
This district is heavily democratic and experts would expect. Cong. Kuster to sail to an easy victory in November.
With 24 Senate districts in NH there was a lot of activity last week, but most of these races did not have primaries. Our ABC lobbying team provided analysis on a couple key races where there were primaries.
Dist. 1- former Minority Leader for the Democrats, Jeff Woodburn, beat back a write-in campaign in his primary. Woodburn is facing several domestic violence charges and the entire Democratic establishment including 8 of his Democratic Senate colleagues have called for him to resign. He has refused, stating he wants to fight to clear his name and he will stay on the ballot as the Democratic nominee in November. Republican fielded a candidate in David Starr, who now has an outside shot to take out the popular Woodburn in November.
Dist. 3- Republican Majority Leader Jeb Bradly easily fended off a primary challenger from the right and will now coast to a general election victory.
Dist. 9- This became an open seat when Andy Sanborn gave it up to run for Congress. On the Republican side, State Rep. Teri Wolf faced off against State Rep. Dan Hynes; Hynes was able to win the nomination by about 300 votes.
The Democrats also had primary with 3 candidates vying for the seat. In the end, Jeanne Dietch beat out former State Senator Mark Fernald and local businessman Bruce Fox. Dietch ran last time and she still had a lot of goodwill left over from her last run. Fernald is a longtime supporter of an income tax. Given that this district leans right, Democrats went with the safer pick in this race giving them their best chance of winning.
This seat may go either way.
Dist. 12- incumbent Republican Kevin Avard easily defeated his primary challenger. He will now face former State Rep. Melanie Levesque in the general election. This being a swing district, this will be a tight race and one to watch as we look to see which party controls the State Senate next session.
Dist. 16- former State Senator David Boutin-R is running for his old seat. He had a primary challenge from the right but he easily won the nomination 61%-38%. He will now face off in a rematch of last year’s special election for this seat with Sen. Kevin Cavenaugh from Manchester. This too will be close race to follow and one that may determine control of the State Senate.
Dist. 4- Was the only seat that had any real activity in last week’s primary. This became an open seat when Pappas left to run for Congress. Both parties had a primary. On the Republican side, former State Senator and 4 term Mayor of Manchester Ted Gatsas easily won his primary. He will now face Manchester businessman Gray Chynoweth who beat Manchester Alderman Garth Corriveau in a hotly contested Democratic primary. This district leans Republican, but the Democrats will look to maintain this seat and hope to pick up one more Democratic seat in District 5 which would then flip the balance of control of the 5 member Executive Council from 3-2 Republican now to 3-2 Democrats. Both of these candidates will have plenty of money to spend and Gatsas starts out as the frontrunner given his name recognition and prior elected experience from this Manchester-based district.
House: As is the norm, some incumbents on both sides were defeated yesterday, but with 400 members it’s a little too early to predict if the House will stay in Republican control or flip to the Democrats.