LACONIA — "If I'm the only Democrat left standing in Belknap County, I guess I did okay," said state Senator Andrew Hosmer of Laconia, who edged his Republican rival Kathleen Lauer-Rago of Franklin by just 131 votes — 9,542 to 9,411 —on Tuesday to hold his seat in District 7.
Democrats lost all five seats they had held in the Belknap County House delegation of 18 members.
Hosmer carried the city of Laconia by a mere 89 votes — 2,651 to 2,562 — as the six wards split evenly between the two candidates with Hosmer's margin in Ward 3 proving the difference. Hosmer won Ward 3 by 152 votes, Ward 4 by 56 votes and Ward 5 by 36 votes, a combined margin of 244 votes. Lauer-Rago carried Ward 1 by 58 votes, Ward 2 by 23 votes and ward 6 by 74 votes, a combined margin of 155 votes.
In Franklin, the other city in the district, Lauer-Rago beat Hosmer by 78 votes, 1,215 to 1,1137. She held majorities in all three wards.
Hosmer carried five of the nine towns in District 7. Gilford and Belmont, the only towns in Belknap County in the district, went separate ways as Hosmer squeaked past Lauer-Rago by five votes in Gilford — 1,616 to 1,611 — but lost Belmont by 219 votes — 1,218 to 999. In Merrimack County Lauer-Rago won Northfield by 771 to 674, Salisbury by 292 to 248. Hosmer carried Andover by 527 to 375, Boscawen by 605 to 544, Webster by 395 to 382 and Canterbury by 690 to 441.
In seven of the 10 municipalities in the district the difference between the two candidates was less than 100 votes as Hosmer 's margins of 152 votes in Andover and 249 votes in Canterbury decided the outcome.
In light of the closeness of the election, the GOP may well request a recount.