NH Senate GOP loses popular vote, maintains majority?

We have our own version of the ‘Electoral College’ problem here in the granite state.. at least for the next 8 years.

Last Tuesday granite staters gave Democratic Senate Candidates 17,617 more votes than they did Republican Senate Candidates 51% of the vote. But, if things stay as they are currently (two recounts underway) Dems will only control 45% of the Chamber 11 of 24 seats)

It looks even worse when you consider that the GOP was able to score 18,644 “unanswered” votes in Bragdon’s District 11. Remove that race and the Dem Team builds a 36,261 vote margin or 53% of the state wide vote but do not even have parity rule in the body.

That is why I was happy to hear that Lee Nyquist requested a recount in his close race in District 9 (happening now). Sanborn won this wandering district by just 253 votes 8/10th of 1%. With parity in the Senate in the balance it’s worth the review.


Beautiful towns, but an cartographically ugly district, crossing at least 3 “communities of interest”

There is also a recount scheduled for the tight District 16 Race where Kathleen Kelly lost by 396 votes to David Boutin (a 1.5% margin)

Close races are not bad, but when they are the result of “creative districting” that disrespects communities of interest as egregiously as NH-9 does we should all take note and and try to do better when the opportunity arises again after the 2020 census.

Based on our current Senate districts NH Dems may need to get used to winning popular vote totals while remaining in the minority in the NH Senate Chambers.

(Full Disclosure: I helped with Lee Nyquist’s internet presence during the campaign but was not involved with electoral strategy or the decision to seek a recount)

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  • StraffordDem

    that Lee picked up 40 votes in New Boston.

    Not enough to help Lee much, but that can’t be good news for you know who.

    • Jennifer Daler
  • GreyMike

    Bill sure got his licks in on the Monadnock Region by saddling us with Bedford, we’re all just the tail on that dog.

    I’m sure we’ll be just as thoroughly ignored by Sanborn as we have been by Bragdon before him, a succession of regressive road blockers.

    Ironically, the last senator we had who actually represented our area was Andy Peterson, a Republican of a stripe that would not be welcome in the tent as it stands today.

    Thanks a bunch, Bill. And a very special thanks for the $250+ in downshifted costs you added to my property tax bill that just came. Just the thing to make Christmas jolly.

    Don’t let the door hit you on the way out of the Speaker’s office.

  • hannah

    been designated as petty potentates. The electorate needs to recognize that candidates for public office, who propose to punish someone else are not to be trusted.

  • Paul Twomey

    This could be done either by statute or by amending the Consitution. (Which of course is harder). A statute is easier to pass, but statutes can be repealed by subsequent legislations, and there is little doubt that the O’Brien crowd wouldnt have paid much attention to a statute had one existed.

    Perhaps the best idea would be to procede on both fronts– try to pass a statutory redistricting commission while working for passage of a constitutional amendment.

    • Kathy Sullivan 2

      Jim Splaine tells me that this idea came up a few years ago as an advisory commission, and he supported it. Perhaps the old legislation can be resurrected.  

      • Rep. Jim Splaine

        There may be more, but two redistricting bills, introduced by Reps. Chuck Weed and Peter Burling, were considered in the 2003 Session.

        They are HB 202, for an independent commission, and HB 1269, for an advisory board.  Both had gone to House Election Law.  The drafts are still online on the State’s WEBSITE.  

        It’s an idea whose time has come, a decade later!  

        • Rep. Jim Splaine

          Two other bills to have an independent commission on redistricting were introduced in 2005, HB 49, by Reps. Hilliard, Pratt, Weed, and Peter Allen.  A roll call vote was 241 to 122 to kill it.  

          Another was by now Senator-elect David Pierce in 2011, HB 224, also which lost.  

          Now’s the time to do some good things!

      • PeadarS

        I’m using Chuck Weed’s bill from 2005 as a starting point. If anyone has any suggestions, I’m listening.

        • TimothyHorrigan

          One very simple advantage of a redistriciting commission is that it would be able to get to work as soon as the census numbers come in (probably around April 2021.)  Indeed, it could start earlier.

          One of the big things which went wrong in 2011 is that Chairman Mirski & Vic-Chairman Bates did no work whatsoever on redistricting until November 2011 (although various unofficial plans were drawn up on an ad hoc basis by individuals and small groups).  Mirski rushed out a half-assed plan right before Christmas, which then wasn’t finalized until  April 2012, just two montsh before the filing deadline for the 2012 primary.

          Even if you put someone like Mirski in charge, and even if you dragged your feet filling all the seats, a redistricting commission (unlike a House or Senate committee) would have no choice but to get started right away.

    • Mike Hoefer

      If I can help in any way!

  • Mike Hoefer

    From Lee’s Facebook Page

    The recount is concluded. Although we reduced the margin by 40, we still lost by 213. Final official recounted number is 15.454-15,241.

  • Ray Buckley

    The successful state senate candidates were all either an incumbent/former state senator, a 2010 nominee or a current/former state representative. My strong belief is that our unsuccessful state senate candidates were quality but largely unknown candidates. With the 2012 race under the belt they are in great shape for 2014.  We have an outstanding bench to gain the majority in 2014.

    - All three incumbent Democrats running were reelected (Larsen, D’Allesandro & Kelly)

    - All three former state senators who were defeated in 2010 were elected (Gilmour, Lasky & Clark)

    - All current and former state representatives running for state senate were elected* (Watters & Pierce and Woodman & Soucy)

    - One unsuccessful 2010 state senate candidate was successful (Hosmer) and the other came very close (Kelley)

    - None of our first time state senate candidates were successful (Lamb, Leonard, Nyquist, Fraher, Ballard, Wallenstein, Messner, Reisdorf, Czia & Croteau)

    (*Hollingworth is the exception to the rule, as a former state senator and representative)

    • Marjorie Porter

      He did quite well in the 10 towns encompassing Hillsborough D38–the new floterial–because he had a great group of activists working with and for him. Can’t help but wonder how he would have fared if he had had more help getting his message out in the other towns.  He says he will run again. He needs support when he does. I hope the committee that helps senate candidates will take him seriously next time.

      • Ray Buckley

        He should start running today! He needs the locals to start organizing and fundraising. A winning campaign starts with strong local support first. Getting locals to open their checkbooks and give their time is essential.  

    • Mike Hoefer

      With the 2012 race under the belt they are in great shape for 2014.  We have an outstanding bench to gain the majority in 2014.

  • FrankLloydMike

    I wrote this in response to a different diary last week, but I thought I’d re-post it here:

    It looks like Republicans will retain control of the Senate, 13-11, though a recount in District 9 could even it at 12-12 and a possible recount in District 16 could swing it to the Democrats 13-11.

    But it should be noted that, by my math (someone please double check this), a comfortable majority of New Hampshire voters voted for Democratic candidates in the Senate. By my math, 325,046 (about 53.4%) people voted for Democrats, while 280,070 (about 46.0%) voted for Republicans. And that’s including 18,644 votes for Peter Bragdon, who ran unopposed.

    Due to the Republican gerrymandering, many more Democrats were elected by wide majorities of upwards of 60% than were Republicans. Without gerrymandering, it’s likely that Democrats would hold 13 of 24 seats, or about 54% of the body. If both recounts go our way, they could. But assuming they do not, Republican senators should keep in mind that while they won more seats, they lost more votes. I hope they govern that chamber with some humility.

  • tchair

    House spekah Obrien’s home town with the only error……Ya Suppose….Nah….Well maybe ?  

  • TimothyHorrigan

    The (ostensible) architect of the redistricting was committee chair Paul Mirski.  He drew himself two districts, 1 with just his home town of Enfield (next door to Lebanon & Hanover), and a floterial lumping Enfield in with  5 other towns, including the Free Stater’s vatican (The Town of Grafton.)  He chose the less hospitable of the two districts (Enfield) for a reactionary like himself, and he got walloped by an almost 2-1 margin (1526-808.)  He almost certainly would have lost the floterial too, which was won by Catherine Mulholland (who is in most respects Mirski’s polar opposite.)

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