When last we broached the subject of New Hampshire State Senate predictions, we came out with a 6-6 party split in Districts 1-12. Let's focus on the final 12 districts here and see how Republicans should hold on to their Senate majority, albeit with only a 13-11 edge. Only four or five races should be close, but it becomes increasingly obvious that they could prove pivotal. Districts 18, 20, and 24 fall into that category.
District 13--54.38-45.62 Democratic Edge
Democrat Bette Lasky
After serving just one term in the Senate, former Representative Betty Lasky was voted out of office in 2010, but that was mostly due to the Republican sweep (her husband being caught stealing signs in the final days certainly didn't help either). She will most certainly be back. This district not includes six Nashua wards making it solidly Democratic, and the incumbent Republican (Lambert) is not running again. Joseph Krasucki is. Do you know him? I rest my case.
District 14--14.70 Republican Edge
Republican Sharon Carson
No contest. This is Londonderry, one of the last bastions of total Republican domination (much moreso than Derry). Sharon Carson has done a fine job (it's always a job talking about the latest historical books with her--she and I are both into President Garfield these days); her opposition to right to work may have made her vulnerable in a Republican primary, but nobody challenged her, and Democrat Katherine Messner, of Hudson (still a Republican town) has no chance. None.
District 15--63.39-36.61 Democratic Edge
Democrat Sylvia Larsen
As if possible, redistricting has made this Concord area seat even more Democratic. Talk about a sure thing; that's what former Senate President Larsen is. That makes Lydia Dube Harman, of Concord, the sacrificial lamb. No mint jelly, please.
District 16--52.98-47.07 Republican Edge
Republican David Boutin
Like Sharon Carson, Boutin might have been vulnerable, due his anti right to work stance, in a Republican primary, but he got a pass. He also might be vulnerable in a good Democratic year with an outstanding candidate, but top of the ticket should be fairly neutral this year, and you must remember what Democrat Kathleen Kelley, former Manchester School Board member, did a few winters back. Yes, she was involved in a hit and run; she ran into several parked cars late and night (some say she'd been drinking) and fled the scene. Not exactly the type of candidate Ray Buckley could have wanted. (Bob Backus, who lost to Senator Ted Gatsus twice, would have been a better choice, but he's running for State Rep in Ward 12). True, this district which includes highly Republican Hooksett (along with Bow and three north Manchester wards) is slightly more Democratic due to redistricting. A Democrat has never won here in my memory (Eleanor Podles held it for a long time); it may happen this decade, but not this year.
District 7--52.14-47.86 Republican Edge
Republican John Reagan
This one truly is interesting. Convinced that Jack Barnes was extremely popular and really didn't need so much GOP territory, Republican redistricters took huge chucks of red areas out of this district (giving the towns to Russ Prescott in District 23) leaving it much less Republican. Then Barnes decided not to run, meaning Democrats had a chance to steala the seat. But by that time, they had decided they weren't going to win it, so they settled for Nancy Fraher. A better known and well-funded Democrat might have had a chance, especially since Republican Rep John Reagan (one of my favorite people) had a close primary. As it is, Reagan should win...not by a landslide, but it won't be all that close either. Chalk this up as a major opportunity lost for Democrats...thanks to that wily old outgoing Senator Jack Barnes for not announcing his intentions to step down earlier.
District 18--53.70-46.30 Republican Edge
Democrat Donna Soucy
Sure, the numbers point to a rather substantial Republican edge here, but this is Manchester, and you really can't trust the numbers. They skew toward Republicans, but that's because my numbers use top of the ticket races, and the conservative Democrats here tend to vote more Republican at the top of the ticket. So throw the numbers out. Truth in blogging--this is my Senate district and sad to say that while I wholeheartedly endorse Republican Gail Barry, I think the well known and well financed Donna Soucy will pull it out. This may be the only district which has three different senators in the past ten years (Repulican Martel, Democrat DeVries, Repblican DeBlois)--that's how much of a toss-up it is. Except for Ward 5, the five wards in south Manchester are less Democratic. Throw in highly Republican Litchfield (about 15 percent of the district) and Republican should be favored, especially since popular Democrat Art Beaudry is running as an independent and should pull votes away from Soucy Hhe and Soucy, for example, are both anti right to work; thus if Barry can take most of the pro right ot work votes, she should win. However, it's a Presidential year and the high turnout should keep the Beaudry vote down, and while I'm voing for Gail Barry...I have to pick Soucy. Sorry Gail...I have your sign up.
District 19--58.72-41.28 Republican Edge
Republican James Rausch
Few words are needed here. This is the Derry area. Dig out the mind jelly. Democrat Christopher Reisdorf is the sacrificial lamb.
District 20--52.33-47.67 Republican Edge
Democrat Lou D'Allesandro
We're back in Manchester now (wards 3, 4, 10, 11 and Goffstown), so the edge number isn't terribly reliable. A case could be made for two term Alderman and State Rep Phil Greazzo to upset seven term glad hander Lou D'Allesandro. It should already be clear whom I'd vote for, but only a fool would bet against Lou. I'd gladly vote againt him (Phil is my type of Libertarian-minded Republican), but I won't bet against him. Still...Mitt Romney should do very well in Goffstown; Ovide should do very well in the two west side wards, so Phil could get coattails. He's also got money and organization. Still...As they used to tell opponents of Jay Rockefeller in West Virginia, "Make him spend it all," a reference to spending all his personal wealth. In Lou's case, it's other people's money he's collected over the years. He may not need to spend it all, but close to it. It's truly depressing when one's head is at war with one's heart!
District 21--64.77-35.23 Democratic Edge (that's not a typo)
Talk about stacking and packing! Republican redistricters have created a district no Democrat could ever lose (they crammed Portsmouth and Durham together). However, in the process, they proved to be too cute by half. They thought they would lock out former Senator Martha Fuller Clark, of Portsmouth, by putting her in wih incumbent Mandy (baseball mon) Merrill, of Durham. Then Mandy decided not to run. Welcome back Martha, and a big thanks to those stackers and packers. Oh yes, the Republican lamb is Peter Macdonald, of Lee (yet another highly Democratic town). There's not enough mint jelly in the state to go with this lamb.
District 22--58.59-41.41 Republican Edge
Republican Chuck Morse
Even Raybo, if injected with enough truth serum, would have to admit Democrat Victoria Czaia (who?), of Atkinson, has no chance...absolutely none against Senate Finance Chair (and once rumored to be gubernatorial candidate) Dick Morse of Salem. 'Nuff said? I think so.
District 23--53.56-46.44 Republican Edge
Republican Russell Prescott
A funny thing happened on the way to the 2012 election. Two actually. This is the district in which Russ Prescott, of Kingston, knocked off Maggie Hassan in the 2010 Republican sweep. Well, Republican redistricters took huge chunks of Republican territory out of District 17 and placed it here. Prior to that I had this district as literally 50/50 (50.08-49.92). Now, especially with Maggie in the race for Governor and Democrat Carol Croteau, of Kingston running, Prescott appears to be safe. No absolute sure thing, but I'd give three to one odds, even with a gun to my head!
We've saved the best for last, not just because it could determine control of the senate (Republicans lead 12-11 if you're keeping track), but because it's numerically last.
Republican Nancy Stiles
Thanks to the miracle of redistricting,Republican incumbent Nancy Stiles (who stunned Martha Fuller Clark two years ago) gets a disrict that I had as +14.48 for Democrats to one with a slight Republican edge. Portsmouth is gone; Republican areas have been added. The only complication is that former Senate President and Executive Council Bev Hollingworth, like Stiles, lives in Hampton, and she's running. Only because I'm forcing myself to call all 24 races am I going with Stiles here. She's done such a good job that she deserves re-election. She's not one of those radical right wing Republicans so easy to demonize this year, but Raybo and Company will still probably find a way to demonize her. I'd like to see polling data here; it's the one section of the Seacoast where Romney should be okay, but Ovide could drag Stiles down. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
THE FINAL SCORE--13-11 Republicans
To recap, we had:
1--Democrat Jeff Woodburn
2--Republican Jeanie Forrester
3--Republican Jeb Bradley
4--Democrat David Watters
5--Democrat David Pierce
6--Republican Sam Cataldo
7--Democrat Andrew Hosmer
8--Republican Bob Odell
9--Republican Andy Sanborn
10--Democrat Molly Kelly
11--Republican President (now and future?) Peter Bradgon
12--Democrat Peg Gilmour