The filing period for state offices didn’t really end Friday at 5 p.m.
For the next three days, the parties are authorized to find (“dig up” might be more appropriate phrasing) candidates to fill vacant spots on the ballot.
In other words, no new primary contests can be created now, but the parties have this extra time to try to fill spots which no one (in that party) chose to file for individually.
If it sounds confusing, it’s even more so because while candidates for office at the top of the ticket must file in person at the Secretary of State’s office in Concord, State Rep candidates file in their local cities and towns which then use snail mail (not the Internet) to forward applications on to Concord.
As of 5 p.m. Monday, the Secretary of State’s office was adding in names which arrived in Monday’s mail, but it’s not usual to see mail drifting in from more remote tows as late a Wednesday.
The best suggestion is to just wait a few days until the dust settles. That’s why I had no problem avoiding web sites over the weekend and reveled in taking my brother and sister-in-law to Weirs and Hampton Beaches instead.
A quick glance reveals that Republicans have a challenger for every State Senate seat (of course, there are only three incumbent Democrats seeking re-election—Molly Kelly in Keene; Sylvia Larsen in Concord; and Lou D’Allesandro in Manchester-Goffstown).
At this time, three Republican Senators appear to have a free ride in November—Bob O’Dell in District 8, James Rausch in the Derry area, and President Peter Bragdon in District 11 (although he faces a primary challenge).
I would be surprised if Democrats did not find three “warm bodies” to fill these spots in the next three days—not that the Republicans are vulnerable, but bragging rights seem to matter these days. “We filled all the slots,” doesn’t really mean much, but the parties seem to take pride in saying it.
Since parties cannot create any primaries now, we definitely know what the lay of the land will be in that regard. As I reported last week, it seems we are destined to have primaries in underlying districts (wards in Manchester for example) even while floterial seats go unfilled.
For example, both parties now have three candidates for the two Ward 2 seats in Manchester. Democrats also have an excess of people in Wards 5 and 7, but could come up with only one candidate for two Ward 6 seats (Ben Baroody is running in the float).
Let’s not go into any more details here until later this week, except to look at Speaker Bill O’Brien’s district.
Wrong were the rumors Republicans would clear the way for O’Brien to run in the floterial which includes highly Republican terrain of Milford and Hollis along with the underlying towns of Mt. Vernon and New Boston.
The reason is simple. More people than ever before are running in Milford, so many in fact that there’s a spillover from that town into the float.
Milford (Hillsborough District 23) deserves four seats of its own, but even as of last Thursday, five Republicans had filed there. The single seat float already had two Milford candidates running (Labor Chair Gary Daniels and Benjamin Linn).
Had O’Brien decided to run for the float, he most likely would have been the underdog since Milford’s population is five times that of Mt. Vernon. Thus, he…and his fired (or resigned?) Chief of Staff Bob Mead, also from Mt. Vernon…are running for of the two District 5 seats; Democrats Kary Jencks and David Woodbury, both of New Boston, have filed. Although New Boston’s population is twice that of tiny Mt. Vernon, my rating has both towns rather Republican, enough to make the Speaker a slight favorite at the starting gate.
With 50.00 meaning absolute equality between the parties, my rating is 52.61 for Mt. Vernon, down from 54.46 ten years ago, and 57.17 for New Boston, up from 56.24 ten years ago. (I have Amherst at 53.12, down from 55.95 ten years ago; and Milford at 52.92, down from 53.57 ten years ago).
Of course, candidates and issues and effort put forth all matter, but these numbers as a basis of strength certainly matter as we hit the starting gate.
Sooner of later, I’ll post numbers for all cities and wards and towns in the state along with an explanation of how they were arrived at. For now, just consider the higher the better for Republicans; the lower the better for Democrats. For example, I have New Ipswich at 67.38 (up from 63.67 ten years ago) and Hanover at 22.98 (down from 31.54 ten years ago). As is often the case, the rich get richer. In other words, areas are often becoming even more Democratic or Republican than they were when I ran a similar exercise in the wake of 2002 redistricting.