Local voters follow statewide trends in Primary
|In a brief display of bi-partisan cooperation at the polls in Bristol on Tuesday afternoon, Democratic candidate Marttha Richards and her Republican opponent, Omer Ahern, Jr., pause to exchange cordial greetings before the mad dash to the general election begins. With the primaries behind them, incumbent Grafton County Commissioner Richards and her Republican opponent, Ahern, will battle for the commissioner's seat in earnest. Richards is former Chair of the Plymouth Area Democrats, and Ahern is Chair of the Pemi-Baker Valley Republican Committee. (Marcia Morris) (click for larger version)|
September 15, 2010REGION — Voters who ventured out to the polls throughout the Plymouth and Newfound regions during Tuesday's state Primary showed a strong conservative streak, following a state-wide trend of support for candidates who advocated fiscal restraint and traditional Granite State values.
The hotly contested Republican races for governor and U.S. Senate attracted most of the spotlight Tuesday, with John Stephen earning an opportunity to go head-to-head with incumbent Gov. John Lynch in November while Ovide Lamontagne and former state Attorney General Kelly Ayotte locked horns in a close race for a chance to take on Congressman Paul Hodes (who hopes to claim retiring Sen. Judd Gregg's seat in November).
Another closely watched race on Tuesday's ballot saw a crowded field of candidates battling it out for a shot at the Second Congressional District seat due to be vacated by Hodes, with former Congressman Charlie Bass emerging as the frontrunner on the Republican side and Ann McLane Kuster handily beating out opponent Katrina Swett on the Democratic side.
In the First Congressional District, former Manchester mayor Frank Guinta overcame recent accusations of financial fraud to pull ahead of his opponents, earning a chance to square off against incumbent Democratic Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter in November.
At the local level, all eyes were on a contentious battle between Republicans Fran Wendelboe and Jeanie Forrester for a chance to face off against incumbent Democratic state Sen. Deb Reynolds. As of press time Tuesday night, Forrester had pulled ahead of her rival, claiming 53 percent of the vote to Wendelboe's 47 percent, according to results posted on WMUR News 9's Web site.
Skip Reilly emerged as the leading Republican contender for one of three soon-to-be-open seats in the New Hampshire House from Grafton County District 8, carrying 36 percent of the vote. He was trailed by fellow Republicans Paul Simard, with 23 percent of the vote, and Jeff Shackett, with 17 percent. All three will face off in November against incumbent Democrat Philip Preston and his two challengers, Jennifer Tuthill and Marilyn Lieto.
For the most part, the results that began trickling in from local polls Tuesday night mirrored the eventual outcome at the state level.
In Plymouth's Republican Primary, Stpehen was the overwhelming favorite for governor, amassing 251 votes. Jack Kimball came in a distant second with 61 votes, followed by Karen Testerman (27) and Frank Emiro (15).
Lamontagne barely edged out Ayotte in Plymouth, tallying 152 votes to Ayotte's 146, while Bill Binnie had 60; Jim Bender 32; Tom Alciere five; and Dennis Lamare four. There were no votes cast for Gerard Beloin.
Bass pulled ahead of his opponents in Plymouth, as well, earning 184 votes, while Bob Giuda tallied 103; Jennifer Horn 82; Joseph Reilly eight; and Wesley Sonner six.
Voters in Plymouth favored Forrester over Wendelboe by a margin of 236-141, and also threw their support behind Carol Elliott, who tallied 321 votes against Harold Brown's 46 in the only remaining contested race on the Republican ballot, for County Treasurer.
On the Democratic side, Lynch far outpaced his opponents in Plymouth, earning 291 votes, while Timothy Robertson had 11 and Frank Sullivan three.
Kuster proved an overwhelming favorite among Democratic voters in Plymouth, tallying 268 votes to Swett's 41.
In the only other contested race on Plymouth's Democratic ballot, Kelley Jean Monahan edged out incumbent Bill Sharp, 127-110, for shot at the position of Registrar of Deeds for Grafton County.
Voters who turned out at the polls in Ashland followed state-wide trends by selecting Stephen as their pick to beat Lynch in November with 156 votes, while Kimball had 57; Testerman 30; and Emiro 14.
The race between Lamontagne and Ayotte proved even closer in Ashland than in Plymouth, with Lamontagne ultimately pulling ahead by a mere three votes, 104-101. Binnie came in a distant third with 50 votes, followed by Bender, with 15, and Lamare, with two. There were no votes cast for Beloin or Alciere in Ashland.
Bass proved to be the favorite in the Second District race yet again, tallying 116 votes, while Horn had 72; Giuda 62; Reilly 14; and Sonner six.
Wendelboe fared slightly better in Ashland than in Plymouth, beating out Forrester on Ashland's ballot by a margin of 179-73.
Skip Reilly was the frontrunner among the Republican nominees for state representative, tallying 143 votes, while Simard had 107and; Shackett 83; Ryan Murdough 70; and Berti 64.
Elliott once again soundly defeated Brown in the County Treasurer's race, 169-60.
Ashland's Democratic voters threw their support behind Lynch in the governor's race, casting 85 votes for him, nine for Sullivan, and four for Robertson, while Kuster once again topped Swett, 76-22, and Monahan again edged out Sharp in the race for Registrar of Deeds, 45-34.
Stephen was once again the clear favorite the Republican governor's race in Bristol, earning 241 votes, while Kimball had 78; Testerman 45; and Emiro 16.
Lamontagne narrowly averted a tie with Ayotte at the Bristol polls, edging her out by just one vote, 167-166. Binnie once again came in third with 61 votes, while Bender had 31; Lamare three; Alciere two; and Beloin one.
Bristol voters took a cue from their neighbors in the Second District race, making the Bass the front runner with 185 votes, while Horn had 121; Giuda 83; Joseph Reilly 23; and Sonner three.
As in Plymouth, Forrester was handed a comfortable victory over Wendelboe on Bristol's ballot, 242-153, while Shackett proved the favorite among the Republican candidates for state representative, earning 271 votes, followed by Skip Reilly (234); Simard (169); and Berti and Murdough, who were tied at 61 votes each.
Democratic voters in Bristol showed their confidence in Lynch, casting 119 votes in his favor, while Sullivan tallied five and Robertson seven.
Kuster once again edged out Swett, 78-48, while Monahan again beat out Sharp, 49-40.
Editor's note: Due to time and space constraints, we were unable to include results for all of our communities in this week's issue. A full re-cap of local Primary results will appear next week.