Republicans Look Likely to Lose a Seat, but Maintain State Senate Majority

Nov 9, 2016

Credit Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Riding an unexpectedly strong showing at the top of the ballot, Republicans appeared poised to hang on to their advantage in the New Hampshire state Senate.

With 86 percent of the vote counted, Democrat Scott McGilvray led Republican state Rep. Joe Duarte by three percentage points in the Senate District 16 contest. If McGilvray hangs on, Democrats will pick up one seat, cutting the GOP’s Senate majority to 13-11.

Eight seats were vacant, six of which had been held by retiring Republican incumbents.

In District 10, held by Democrat Molly Kelly of Keene since 2006, Jay Kahn, former vice president of finance and planning at Keene State, beat Republican Chester LaPointe. And Martha Hennessey, a state representative from Hanover, easily held onto the seat vacated by Democrat David Pierce, beating Marie Lozito of Claremont.

Republicans won the other six, including the District 12 race, covering part of Nashua. The contest attracted more than $300,000 from outside groups supporting Peggy Gilmour, a Democrat who lost the seat to Republican Kevin Avard in 2014. Despite the backing of handful of groups, including the pro-gun control Everytown for Gun Safety, which sponsored more than $100,000 in digital ads and mailers,  Gilmour lost to Avard by three points.

In District 24, one of the state’s only true swing districts, Republican Dan Innis appeared headed for a win over the Democrat, state Rep. Tom Sherman.

In other Senate races:

  • Republican Bob Guida had an eight-point lead over Charlie Chandler in District 2, a seat vacated when Republican Jeanie Forrester announced a run for governor;
  • State Rep. James Gray, a Rochester Republican, was leading Democrat Joe Casey by eight points in District 6;
  • Republican Ruth Ward had a comfortable margin over Democrat John Garvey for the District 8 seat, formerly held by state Banking Commissioner Jerry Little, a Republican;
  • Rep. Bill Gannon, a Republican from Rockingham, beat Alexis Simpson by seven points.

The state's Executive Council looked to retain its same partisan balance, three Republicans to two Democrats. Newcomers to the council will be Democrat Andru Volinsky, in District 2, and Republican Russell Prescott, in District 3.