Charlie St. Clair, newly elected as Belknap County District 9 state representative, stands outside his business, the Laconia Antique Center. (Adam Drapcho/Laconia Daily Sun)
By RICK GREEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — In flipping Belknap House District 9, Charlie St. Clair showed Democrats can compete in any district in the coming year, New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley said.
“Voters are rejecting the Trump-Sununu agenda every chance they get, choosing results and hope over nonsense and negativity,” he said.
“St. Clair will be a great addition to the legislature, fighting for all Granite Staters," Buckley said after St. Clair defeated Republican Steven Whalley Tuesday in a district where GOP voters outnumber Democrats.
State Republican Chair Jeanie Forrester minimized the victory.
"Special elections often favor the party out of power,” she said. “The fact remains that under Republican leadership, 75 percent of voters agree New Hampshire is headed in the right direction. We remain confident Republicans will succeed in 2018 and beyond."
St. Clair defeated Whalley, 1,268 to 1,010, in a district that takes in Laconia and Belmont.
He will succeed Republican Robert Fisher, who resigned in a scandal over his creation of a website critical of women.
The state Democratic Party said in a news release the district has 12 percent more registered Republican voters than Democrats and that this is the third special election this year in which Democrats have flipped seats that were in Republican control.
The GOP maintains strong majority control in the state House.
Whalley said he was disappointed.
“It's not what I expected,” he said. “I made a serious effort and I was committed to the idea that I would do the job as well as I could.”
St. Clair said he tried to run a race that transcended party politics, and admitted to thinking his chances of victory were a “long shot.”
“I am overwhelmed,” he said after the vote totals were reported.
In a Sept. 5 filing with the New Hampshire Secretary of State's office, Whalley listed $961 total expenditures on the race. Also, the Republican State Committee spent $2,343 on his behalf and the NH Priorities PAC spent $1,816.
America Votes Action Fund spent $3,072 on mailers for St. Clair. There were no further listings with the Secretary of State for St. Clair. Wyatt Ronan, a spokesman for the state Democratic Party, said it spent about $2,000 on St. Clair's behalf, but that this would be included in a later filing with the state. The county Democratic Party did not return a call for comment on its spending on the race.
- Written by Rick Green
- Category: Local News
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