With Spending Push, Republicans Hope To Retain State Senate Majority

Nov 3, 2014

The N.H. State Senate chambers
Credit Marc Nozell via Flickr CC

Hoping to retain the GOP’s slim majority in the state Senate, if not build on it, the New Hampshire Republican State Committee has spent tens of thousands of dollars on an advertising push over the final weeks of the campaign.

The party has focused its spending on a handful of races that could determine who takes control of the state’s upper chamber, which Republicans now control 13-11.

The NHGOP has poured a total of roughly $72,000 into two rematches from 2012 that Republicans won by the slimmest of margins.

The state party has spent about $37,000 on the District 9 contest between first-term Republican incumbent Andy Sanborn and New Boston Democrat Lee Nyquist, including $17,000 on direct mail and $11,000 on radio ads. That race went to a recount in 2012, with Sanborn eventually winning by 213 votes.

The party has dropped more than $35,000 on a second rematch between District 6 incumbent Sam Cataldo and challenger Richard Leonard. Two years ago, Cataldo beat Leonard by less than 650 votes.

After voting to expand Medicaid and raise the gas tax, David Boutin, the District 16 incumbent, survived a primary challenge from the right by state Rep. Jane Cormier. Since then, the NHGOP has spent nearly $29,000 backing Boutin, whose campaign has raised almost $200,000, against long-time Democratic Party activist and attorney Maureen Raiche Manning.

In District 7, Democrat incumbent Andrew Hosmer, who won his first term by some 5,000 votes in 2012, has a big fundraising edge over the challenger, former state Rep.Kathy Lauer-Rago. The NHGOP has chipped in $28,000 - including $16,000 on radio ads and $11,00 on mailers – to try and recapture the Republican-leaning district.

In District 8, the open seat vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Bob Odel, Republican Jerry Little, former president of NH Bankers Association, enjoys a cash advantage over Democrat and retired teacher Linda Tanner. The state Republicans have spent $19,000 on radio and digital ads and direct mail on Little’s behalf.

In other races worth keeping an eye on:

  • Democratic incumbent Peggy Gilmour is facing former state Rep. Kevin Avard for the District 12 seat;  
  • Democrat Dan Feltes, a legal aid attorney, and Lydia Dube Harman, a small-business owner from Warner, will vie for the District 15 seat formerly held by Democrat Sylvia Larsen, who is retiring;
  • John Reagan, the Republican incumbent, is being challenged for the District 17 seat by former teacher Nancy R.B. Fraher;
  • Donna Soucy – the only Democrat in the Senate to vote against raising the gas tax earlier this year – faces state Rep. George Lambert for the District 18 seat.