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Cormier bests Bolster, Comtois defeats Swinford

Primary marked by low voter turnout throughout the area

by Joshua Spaulding
Editor - The Baysider

State Representative candidate Jane Cormier stands in front of Prospect Mountain High School along with other supporters early on during the primary. Tim Croes. (click for larger version)
September 12, 2012
REGION — Across the Baysider's three towns, trends followed the state, with low turnout in Tuesday's Primary Election.

In Alton, 1,149 residents voted, including 22 new voters, which was just more than 30 percent of the voters. In Barnstead 840 voters went to the polls. In New Durham, 461 voters cast ballots, including 12 new voters out of 1,780 on the checklist.

Possibly the most notable results from the ballots were in the Republican State Representative races.

With the redistricting, Alton and Barnstead share one seat (Belknap District 8) with Gilmanton, while Barnstead also has a seat of its own (Belknap District 7). Alton also shares a seat solely with Gilmanton (Belknap District 5), though there were no contests in the District 5 race.

In the District 8 contest, incumbent State Rep. Peter Bolster was defeated in Alton and Barnstead. In Alton, challenger Jane Cormier easily outpolled Bolster by a tally of 638 to 244, while in Barnstead, Cormier garnered 292 votes to Bolster's 176. With Gilmanton not reporting by 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Cormier led Bolster, 930 to 420.

In the District 7 seat, both Republican candidates were incumbents. Guy Comtois defeated Elaine Swinford by a vote of 303 to 206 to earn a chance to be on the ballot in November.

In New Durham, there were three Republicans vying for two spots on the ballot for Strafford County District Three State Representative (shared with Strafford). David Bickford received 164 votes, Robert Kroepel received 117 votes and Kurt Wuelper received 108 votes. Strafford voters favored Wuelper (216) and Kroepel (165) over Bickford (163), so Bickford (327) and Wuelper (324) will appear on the November ballot.

Another contested local race on the Republican ballot was for State Senate District Six, which includes Alton, Barnstead, New Durham, Farmington, Gilmanton and Rochester.

In Alton, Dick Green outpaced Sam Cataldo by a 454 to 390 tally, while in Barnstead, Cataldo defeated Green by a 274 to 172 margin. New Durham went to Cataldo by a tally of 159 to 120. Farmington went to Cataldo by a 251 to 140 margin, so with Rochester and Gilmanton not reporting by 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, Cataldo led 1,074 to 886.

There were a number of contested races on the Republican ballot at the statewide level as well and the results in the local towns seemed to go much the same way as the state went.

In the gubernatorial primary, Alton and Barnstead residents went overwhelmingly for Ovide Lamontagne over Kevin Smith. Lamontagne won Alton by a 579 to 291 tally and Barnstead by a 341 to 160 margin. New Durham also went for Lamontagne over Smith by a 201 to 83 tally. Robert Tarr received minimal support. The race was called relatively early for Lamontagne.

Incumbent Republican Congressman Frank Guinta easily outpolled Rick Parent and Vern Clough in his bid for a rematch with former Rep. Carol Shea-Porter. Guinta polled 394 votes in Barnstead, 240 in New Durham and 718 in Alton, with Parent and Clough trailing way behind.

Longtime District One Executive Councilor Ray Burton was challenged in the Republican primary by Jerry Thibodeau, but Alton voters gave Burton 500 votes and Thibodeau received 283. The race was closer in New Durham, with Burton getting 118 and Thibodeau receiving 101. Burton, on the strength of the North Country vote, was easily cruising to victory at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The other contested races on the Republican ballots were for seats as Delegate to the State Convention. In Alton, Jeff St. Cyr (483) and Walt Havenstein (422) outdistanced Carlos Martinez (363) for two spots on the ballot. In Barnstead, Swinford led the four-way race for one spot on the ballot, bringing in 198 votes to best Robert LaRoche (114), Alan Glassman (86) and Don Walker (65).

The remainder of the Republican races in both Alton and Barnstead were uncontested.

In Barnstead, Michael Tierney received 373 votes for Executive Councilor District Two. In Alton, Stephen Nedeau received 714 votes for County Commissioner. Also in Alton, the District 5 State Representative race had two candidates for two spots on the ballot. Stephen Holmes received 566 votes and Richard Burchell received 372. The other races were on the ballots in both towns. Craig Wiggin is running for reelection as sheriff and got 402 votes in Barnstead and 729 in Alton, Melissa Countway Guldbrandsen is seeking to continue as county attorney and received 389 votes in Barnstead and 751 in Alton. Michael Muzzey (708 in Alton, 390 in Barnstead) will be on the ballot for county treasurer, Barbara Luther (399 in Barnstead, 724 in Alton) will be on the ballot for register of deeds and Karen Brickner (408 in Barnstead, 718 in Alton) will be seeking the register of probate.

New Durham Republicans gave Joseph DiGregorio 226 votes for county sheriff and Lynn Williams 218 votes for register of deeds. Mac Kittredge (160), Catherine Cheney (156) and Diane Wood (150) will all be on the ballot for three county commissioner seats.

On the Democratic ballot, there were only a few contested races.

In New Durham, there were four Democrats running for three Strafford County Commissioner spots on the ballot. Leo Lessard received 123 votes, Robert Watson was checked on 91 ballots and Paul Dumont received 85 votes, while George Maglaras picked up 67 votes.

New Durham also featured a race for register of deeds on the Democrat ballot. Dennis Vachon got 88 votes and Dale Sprague received 49 votes.

In Barnstead, there was a three-way battle for District Two Executive Councilor, with Colin Van Ostern (129) edging John Shea (110) and Shawn Mickelonis (24). As of 10:30 p.m., Van Ostern held a solid lead over Shea with more than half the districts reporting (3,803-2,251).

The other contested race on the Democratic side was for governor. In Barnstead, Jackie Cilley edged Maggie Hassan by a 138 to 134 margin, with Bill Kennedy trailing with 35. In Alton, Hassan easily outpaced Cilley 129 to 76 and Kennedy got 23 votes. In New Durham, Hassan received 89 votes, Cilley was checked 57 times and Kennedy received 15 votes. The race was called for Hassan by 10 p.m. Tuesday.

For the state representative seat for District 8, Roberta Smith received 259 votes in Barnstead and 194 votes in Alton. For District 7, Bruce Marriot received 267 votes in Barnstead. In District 5, Deborah Chase picked up 158 and Jean Henry received 139 in the race for two seats.

The rest of the races were uncontested in both Alton and Barnstead Democratic ballots. Kerstin Ahlgren received 249 in Barnstead and 183 in Alton for register of deeds and Esther Shartar-Howe received 251 in Barnstead and 182 in Alton for register of probate. Carol Shea-Porter received 284 in Barnstead and 211 in Alton in an effort to reclaim her seat in the United States Congress.

Richard Leonard received 261 votes in Barnstead, 148 in New Durham and 203 in Alton for state senate.

New Durham Democrats gave Shea-Porter 146 votes for Congress and Beth Funicella got 141 votes for Executive Council. Bob Perry (123) and Joe Cicirelli (98) will be on the ballot for state rep, while David Dubois got 140 votes for sheriff, Thomas Velardi got 140 votes for county attorney and Pamela Arnold got 140 votes for county treasurer.

Joshua Spaulding can be reached at sportsgsn@salmonpress.com or 569-3126

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