Democrat Flips State Legislative Seat in New Hampshire District That Trump Won
By Kevin Landrigan
In a mild upset, New Hampshire House Democrats took back a seat from Republicans following a special election Tuesday.
Unofficially, Laconia Democrat Charles St. Clair defeated Laconia Republican Steve Whalley for this seat that's made up of all six Laconia wards along with the town of Belmont.
The final margin was 1,267 for St. Clair to 1,009 for Whalley.
St. Clair won by rolling up victories five Laconia wards, tying Whalley in the sixth and losing GOP-dominant Belmont by only eight votes.
Both parties said going into Tuesday's runoff that this was going to be a very competitive race to replace two-term State Rep. Robert Fisher, the Laconia Republican, who resigned under fire last spring.
The New Hampshire House voted not to punish Fisher for his prominent role in the controversial, Red Pill blog that included many disparaging comments about women.
But in response to the calls of leading Republicans, Fisher left the House after that vote. Democrats had held the seat as recently as 2012 but Donald Trump won the district by 17 points and the GOP had a 12-point advantage in party registration.
St. Clair was considered a strong Democratic contender as an organizer of the popular Laconia Bike Week festivities.
Likewise, GOP leaders considered Whalley, a Lakes Region businessman, their best standard bearer as the brother of the late House Majority Leader Michael Whalley of Alton.
GOP activists worried about the timing of this race because it came on the same day as primary contests for city council seats.
Veteran Republicans feared the local turnout would boost support for St. Clair when a lower turnout would have helped Whalley.
(c)2017 The New Hampshire Union Leader (Manchester, N.H.)