The campaign for next week’s special election to fill the vacant state House seat in Hillsborough District 3 is heating up. At issue is the refusal by Republican David Simpson to join Democrat Peter Leishman in a joint public forum to discuss the issues.
The candidates were scheduled to meet Monday morning at the town library in a forum sponsored by ABLE NH, an advocacy organization supporting children and adults with disabilities. Kevin Landrigan writes that when Simpson declined the invitation, he was “hammered” in the local media.
Simpson defended his refusal to participate.
Simpson said that written responses to questions published in a newspaper are a more effective way for large numbers of people to get to know the positions of candidates.
“I believe an open public forum provides the candidates running for “public office” and the attending audience and press an unscripted opportunity to ask questions. Good government is open government and a forum/debate on the issues is an important part of that process. We should be debating the issues and not debating whether or not to have a debate.”
The special election is next Tuesday, September 20. Hillsborough District 3 includes the towns of Peterborough, New Ipswich, Sharon and Greenville.
“This sent the message that the Tea Party needs to get out of New Hampshire.”
Rep.-elect Kevin Janvrin, describing himself as a “common sense Republican” after his election to the New Hampshire state House.
Pindell reports turnout is low in the Rockingham County District 14 special election. Three candidates are vying for the vacant state House seat: Republican Kevin Janvrin, Democrat Ryan Mahoney and Libertarian Brendan Kelly.
The first polls close at 7:00 PM (Seabrook and South Hampton) followed by Kensington at 7:30 PM and Hampton Falls at 8:00 PM. I’ll update the results here as they become available.
Unofficial results reported by Pindell
- 58% of district’s registered voters live in Seabrook, the hometown of Janvrin and Kelly.
- Hampton Falls is the most Republican town in the district. McCain won Hampton Falls in 2008 with 58.6% of the vote.
- The district is the 20th most Republican House district in the state (based on voting in presidential elections).
Conventional wisdom says we shouldn’t read too much into the results of a low-turnout special election. In many ways, however, today’s Rockingham District 14 race is a microcosm of the ideological battles being waged in the state House. The Portsmouth Herald says the results will have “major implications.”
The question now is whether Republicans will continue to support [Janvrin] or if they will switch allegiances to his Libertarian challenger. The answer has major implications for the direction the state will take over the next couple of years because Republicans will still hold a large majority in the House. Janvrin, however, would appear to be another vote among the Republican bloc who oppose anti-union legislation. Kelly would be another sure vote for House Speaker O’Brien. And if Mahoney wins? Well, that would signal the beginning of the end for the state’s Republican majority.
Tuesday, voters in Rockingham County District 14 head to the polls to fill the state House seat vacated by Republican Gary Wheaton, who resigned following his arrest in April on charges of driving after his license had been suspended for a reckless driving conviction. Three candidates are vying for the seat: Democrat Ryan Mahoney, Republican Kevin Janvrin and Libertarian Brendan Kelly.
By rights, this should be an easy pick-up for the Republican candidate. Based on presidential voting, Rockingham District 14 is the 20th most Republican district in the state (out of 103) with a PVI of R+4. John McCain carried the district in 2008 by a 51.9% - 48.1% margin. Since 2002, the district has sent 17 Republicans to the state House and only three Democrats. But special elections are, well, special. And this one may be more idiosyncratic than most:
- Janvrin, a member of the fire fighters union, upset the GOP establishment candidate in the primary. His pro-labor views — he has promised to vote to uphold Gov. Lynch’s veto of right-to-work legislation — have led some prominent Republicans to publicly support the Libertarian candidate.
- The state GOP has been embroiled in ousting chairman Jack Kimball and is not likely to have been very involved in Janvrin’s campaign.
- On the other hand, the state AFL-CIO, which played a key role in getting out the vote for Democratic candidates in the last two special elections, has endorsed Janvrin and is working on his behalf.
The Seabrook and South Hampton polls close at 7:00 PM. Poll close in Kensington at 7:30 PM and in Hampton Falls at 8:00 PM.
The editors at Foster’s Daily Democrat, a self-described staunch Republican-leaning newspaper, take note of the “trouncing” Republican House candidates received in two special elections and conclude, “Republicans are doing something wrong.”
Gun rights, abortion, and voter I.D. are just a few examples of where Republican legislative desires missed the mark.
Had the Republican legislature stuck to the issues that concerned voters when they went to the polls last year — jobs and the economy — the GOP would not find itself in such dire electoral straights.
Frankly, we believe in some cases we were snookered. But based on Tuesday’s election results, it appears we are not alone.
Next year’s legislative agenda, says Foster’s, will determine whether Republicans can revive voter confidence or will return to minority status in November, 2012.
So a victory was pulled off in Bully O’Brian’s backyard, another in State Republican Chairman Jack Kimball’s back yard, I think the people behind these victories are running out of backyards.
— Republican state Rep. Lee Quandt, on Democratic special election wins
Democrat Bob Perry won tonight’s special election for a vacant state House seat in Strafford District 3. Perry outpolled Republican Honey Puterbaugh by a 58% - 42% margin.
Update: Official results from New Hampshire Secretary of State:
Town Puterbaugh-R Perry-D Puterbaugh-R Perry-D
------------ ------------ ------------ ------------ ------------
Barrington 485 727 40% 60%
Farmington 299 359 45% 55%
Middleton 95 86 52% 48%
Milton 222 266 45% 55%
New Durham 139 171 45% 55%
Strafford 267 493 35% 65%
------------ ------------ ------------ ------------ ------------
Total 1507 2102 42% 58%
Democratic chair Ray Buckley was characteristically understated:
“Bob Perry’s victory tonight is a complete and total rejection of Republican House Speaker Bill O’Brien’s reckless job killing agenda. … New Hampshire voters have seen enough of the radical Free State agenda this year with bills that would allow guns in schools and courts, would remove support for our United States’ Constitution out of the oath of office, and would eliminate public kindergarten.”
Republican chair Jack Kimball was characteristically gracious:
“Under John Lynch’s watch, Bob Perry voted with the tax-and-spend crowd for numerous tax and fee increases including the job-crushing LLC small business tax, while they ran up a massive deficit. Thankfully with the Republican-led legislature, Bob Perry won’t be able to do any further damage.”
Honey Puterbaugh, the Republican candidate in Strafford District 3, can’t hide her association with the Free State Project any longer — but she sure is trying to downplay it:
When we asked her about the Free State connection, Puterbaugh said she had planned to move here to be close to family anyway when she heard about the Free State movement and its pledge.
That’s not how her husband, Todd Puterbaugh, tells the story:
“One of the things that did influence our move here was my wife and I both felt that the loss of liberty was occurring at an accelerated pace and we didn’t want to sit by and let that happen.”
Honey Puterbaugh, the Republican candidate in Tuesday’s special election for a Strafford District 3 state House seat, says social programs like Meals on Wheels should not receive public funding.
Puterbaugh says in an ideal world people should take care of themselves, but this does not always happen. She believes that state and county government costs should be kept to a minimum. Asked if, for example, she approves of taxpayer funding for a program like Meals on Wheels, she replied, “Ideally, individuals would donate. Sometimes it sounds cruel to cut a charity, but it may be the way to go at that time.”
Meals On Wheels provides well over one million meals to seniors who need them each day. Nearly six million U.S. seniors face the threat of hunger.
Honey Puterbaugh, the Republican candidate in the upcoming special election for a Strafford County District 3 House seat, moved to New Hampshire after signing the Free State Project pledge. The stated goal of the Free State Project is to take over the state government, slash state and local budgets, and eliminate federal “interference.”
Even Foster’s, a newspaper known for a very conservative and reliably Republican viewpoint, is troubled by the failure of the candidate and the GOP to honestly acknowledge this association.
In Puterbaugh’s race against Democrat Bob Perry, Foster’s believes there has been a concerted effort on the part of the candidate and the state Republican Party to avoid an open and full discussion of the issue.
Politics being what it is, this has brought calls of a cover-up. Puterbaugh and the GOP owe the voters of District 3 an explanation and the opportunity to weigh the import of the Free State Movement on their vote this coming Tuesday, Aug. 9.
On September 20, voters in Hillsborough District 3 will head to the polls for a special election to fill the state House seat vacated by Republican incumbent Robert Huxley. Huxley resigned in April for personal reasons after failing to attend a single committee meeting or cast a single House vote.
Democrat Peter R. Leishman, Peterborough has served as a state Representative on and off since 1996 but lost the seat in 2010. He is the owner of the Milford-Bennington Railroad.
Republican David L. Simpson, Peterborough, is a retired insurance agent and fundraiser for non-profit organizations. Simpson is a pro-life Republican who supports “second amendment rights; parental rights, especially concerning education; and right to work.”
Hillsborough District 3 covers four towns: Peterborough, New Ipswich, Sharon and Greenville. Registered Republicans have a slight edge over registered Democrats in the district, but over 42% of the voters are undeclared.
The district is leans Democratic. John Kerry narrowly won the district in 2004. President Obama carried the district by a 55% - 45% margin. Based on voting in presidential elections, Hillsborough District 3 has a Partisan Voting Index of D+2.
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