Hardly a week goes by when another shoe doesn’t drop on Republican chances of holding their huge lead in the New Hampshire Senate.
This week, it’s not another announcement from a popular incumbent Republican deciding not to seek re-election (Gallus in district 1, Groen in district 6), but it could be just as bad in a district which hasn’t elected a Democrat during the life time of…I dare say…most of you reading this.
Angered that District 16 Republican Senator David Boutin is not conservative enough on gun and right to work issues, a fellow Republican has begun a web site attacking the senator.
It’s not just any Republican either; it’s an elected official, and while I’m not going to out anyone here, those of you far more proficient than I am in technology (after all, I am a Luddite) can undoubtedly google the site and trace the author.
Not only is Boutin being attacked by fellow Republicans, there’s a rumor that a more conservative Republican might run as a third party candidate thus siphoning off votes and allowing a respected Democrat to capture the seat.
At the very least, Boutin can well expect a primary challenge from the right.
The Boutin seat was held by Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas previously. Prior to that, it was Patty Krueger for one term and before that, seemingly forever, Eleanor Podles from the north end of Manchester. That goes back farther than I do, so I’m not the one to name the last Democrat to ever have held the seat...if in fact there is one.
However, Krueger just barely edged out Bow State Represenative Steve DeStefano in 1998 (the recount went on for days), and the district has arguably trended more democratically since then.
For example, when I was first elected to the House in 1996, all three Reps from upscale Ward 1 were Republicans; today, all three are Democrats. Although three Republicans were elected in Ward 2 last time, it was due to the Republican sweep, and the ward is slightly Democratic in a normal year.
Ward 12 remains Republican, and the district also includes highly Republican Hooksett, Dunbarton, and Candia as well as rather neutral Bow.
Bottom line—if a good Democratic candidate steps forward, I would now move this seat from rather safe Republican to toss-up.
DeStefano could win, but he told me he’s not interesting in running.
Two other names have surfaced. Although he lost to Boutin in the special election to fill the Gatsas seat three years ago, Democratic Rep Jeff Goley (Ward 1) is very popular, and this could be his year. There’s also former Ward 2 Democratic State Representative Jim Craig who lost to Carol Shea Porter in the primary for Congress in 2006, but could certainly raise a lot of money (as I recall, he served briefly as Democratic Party Chair during the investigation into Ray Buckley way back when).
If Republicans draw enough Boutin blood, he’ll be vulnerable for either Goley or Craig…so let’s look at my numerical rating for District 16.
It wasn’t changed at all in redistricting, and in hindsight that appears to be a smart move for Republicans since the suggested change of Ward 4 for Ward 12 (which would have logically had the entire West Side in District 20) would have made the Boutin district slightly more Democratic (Ward 4 is rather solidly Democrat, just the opposite of Ward 12).
Here are my numbers, again with the proviso that 100 is all Republican and 0 all Democratic while 50 is totally neutral.
In the five close races in the last decade, my analysis shows that Republicans received 63,282 votes, Democrats 56,165. That’s basically a 53-47 slit or a six point edge for a generic Republican. However, when I did a similar analysis in 2001, the advantage was nine points, an indication that a Democrat stands a better chance here as time passes.
Here are my rankings for the District 16 components:
Ward 1-- 49.54
Ward 2-- 49.45
However, there’s one big caveat. The Manchester wards tend to go more for Democrats the farther away from the top of the ticket one gets. For example, Bob Backus did very well against Gatsas in all three wards. I suspect Goley or Craig would swamp Boutin in Manchester (approximately half the district in population), and Boutin would have to run up big numbers in Hooksett, a real problem should a third party candidate enter.
Check out that website and let me know what you think.
Cause for concern?
Ich glaube Ja!