My post-primary analysis for the New Hampshire State Senate is that Democrats pick up six seats, falling one short of a 12-12 split. I’m going out on a limb with only one of my predictions. I’m calling the race in Nashua and towns to the west for the former senator Gilmour over the Republican incumbent Luther. However, Democrats could pull even if they take either the District 24 seat (Hampton incumbent Republican Nancy Stiles against former Senate President Bev Hollingworth) or District 9 (I have Republican Andy Sanborn, of Bedford, a favorite although both Democrats and Republicans are telling me Lee Nyquist could pull a surprise).
Now is as good a time as any to go through these district by district. The numbers noted here reflect how far each district tilts to either party (with 50 as a tie), but individuals must now be factored into considerations, not to mention top of the ticket effect. Until recently, I had counted on neutrality at the top of the ticket. Now, I think we have to give Obama at least a slight advantage (maybe more than slight); that should benefit Democrats in down ballot races, especially where Obama is expected to run strongly, the North Country, Connecticut Valley, and the Seacoast for example (certainly NOT Bedford; that’s why I’m still going with Sanborn).
District 1—51.15-48.85 Democratic edge
Democrat Jeff Woodburn
Until a few weeks ago, I had Littleton Republican Debi Warner holding onto this seat (the Gallus seat), but Obama continues to run so far ahead in the North County that there should be just enough coattails to propel Woodburn to a win in what is the most evenly balanced district in the state. Try as they might to redistrict this to get in more Republican voters, GOP senators just couldn’t do it. The North Country may be forever lost to the GOP. The good news (for Republicans) is that there are less and less people up there.
District 2—51.80-48.20 Republican edge
Republican Jeanie Forrester
Republican redistricters were faced with the nearly impossible task of keeping this district Republican as Democrats dominate Grafton County more and more. Robert Lamb, of Holderness, can not be ruled out here but would have to be considered a slight underdog unless he outworks and outspends Forrester. About the only thing she did wrong in her first term was screw Meredith by accepting the House redistricting plan; if I
remember that, you can be sure Democratic operatives will as well, but she still should win.
District 3—54.21-45.79 Republican edge
Republican Jeb Bradley
With the Conway area turning more and more Democratic, this district isn’t as Republican as it once was, but it’s still plenty Republican, especially as long as Jeb Bradley is the candidate. This won’t be close. Oh yes, see…I almost forgot…the opponent is Jeffery Ballard, of Brookfield.
District 4—56.92-43.08 Democratic edge
Democrat David Watters
This is pretty much an entirely new district. In fact, when I was thinking about the five Democratic incumbents and adding a pick up of five other seats, I nearly forgot about this. Republican redistricters basically gave this away to Democrats, and State Rep Watters, of Dover, will certainly take it over Republican mover and shaker Phyllis Woods who is much too much a right winger for this area…not that there’s anything wrong with that. Is there?
District 5—63.43-36.57 Democratic edge
Democrat David Pierce
Republican redistricters stacked and packed Democrats into this area and with Matt Houde not running again, there’s no way Hanover State Rep David Pierce will lose to Claremont Rep Joe Osgood. I break my rule of never saying never in this one. Never (at least not in 2012) will a Republican win here.
District 6—53.10-46.90 Republican edge
Republican Sam Cataldo
Prior to redistricting, this seat leaned Democratic (despite Fenton Groen’s win in the Republican sweep of 2012). Now, it’s fairly safe for a Republican. Dick Green would have been a surer bet, but Rep. Sam Cataldo shocked many of us by winning the primary, and while it’s not a done deal, the addition of Alton makes this area especially tough for a Democrat. A better candidate than Richard Leonard might be able to pull it off, but the fact that many Democrats I talk with don’t even know Leonard should mean Cataldo, who is working very hard, should win easily. Just telling it like it is.
District 7—51.53-48.47 Republican edge
Democrat Andrew Hosmer
Although this refigured district (Laconia and much of the Lakes Region) tilts Republican, no serious analyst thinks that Joshua Youssef can carry is baggage over the finish line. Each day seems to bring a new headline about Youssef. We don’t need to go into them here. Suffice it to say that like Delaware in the 2010 U.S. Senate race, the Republican primary here guarantees a Democratic general election win. This district could well go Republican in 2014 (with Youssef gone), but not this year. Just so you don’t think I have a dog in this fight, I wouldn’t even know Youssef if I ran into him…I only know what I read in the papers and am pledged to honesty here.
District 8—51.53-48.47 Republican edge
Republican Bob O’Dell
Hey, Bob O’Dell won here handily when it was rather Democratic the past several years. Now that it’s slightly Republican, give no chance to Christopher Wallenstien (who?!) of Bennington.
District 9—53.63-46.37 Republican edge
Republican Andy Sanborn
It’s true; this district isn’t as solidly Republican as it was back in the days of Sheila Roberge. It’s true; Andy Sanborn is new to the district and had a tough primary fight with Rep. Ken Hawkins. It’s also true that Democrat lawyer Lee Nyquist, of New Boston, is well known and well funded. Given all that, as I noted previously, some see this going Democratic. I’m not one of them. The Bedford turnout should swamp Nyquist (but I wouldn’t make this a gun-to-your-head prediction; in other words, an upset is not totally out of the question).
District 10—62.18-37.82 Democratic edge
Democrat Molly Kelly
Let’s see? Who’s the sacrificial Republican lamb…I’ll have to look it up. It’s not former Republican Senator Eaton; that’s in itself is an indication of just how Democratic this district has become. It’s Richard Foote, of Swanzey.
District 11—53.67-46.33 Republican edge
Republican Senate President Peter Bragdon
This is the only uncontested district in the state, somewhat surprising since it’s not as Republican as it was prior to redistricting. Chairman Buckley claims Democrats in this area are focused on beating House Speaker Bill O’Brien, but that’s only Raybo’s way of face saving. President Bragdon would have been safe even with a quality opponent.
District 12—52.87-47.13 Republican edge
Democrat Peggy Gilmour
This is my upset special; the numbers say give it to incumbent Jim Luther, but I’ve got this feeling Gilmour wins. Every prognosticator should be allowed at least one unexplained feeling…this is mine.
If you’re with me so far, you can add them up. So far, it’s 6-6. Shall we save the rest for another day? Sure, I’m hungry.
Democrats win easily in 13, 15, and 21. Democrats hang on in districts 18 and 20 (the Manchester area, Donna Soucy and Lou; hey I'd vote for Gail Barry and Phil Greazzo, but this is what I think will hapen, not what I want to happen! That’s five for a total of 11.
Republicans win easy in districts 14, 19, 22, and 23. They win fairly easily in district 16 and 17, and Nancy Stiles hangs on in District 24 although that last one is really a toss-up.
If that doesn’t come out to 13 Republicans and 11 Democrats, let me know.
We’ll get to 13-24 in detail later.