By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN
CONCORD — When the period for filing candidacies for the general election closed last week, neither the Republicans nor the Democrats had filed a full slate of candidates for the 18 seats in the New Hampshire House of Representatives elected in Belknap County.
The 18 seats are spread among nine districts in the county. In a clean sweep, Republicans won all 18 seats in 2014 and nine of the incumbents are seeking re-election. But, the GOP left one slot on the ballot in District 5 and another in District 6 empty. while the Democrats failed to field a full slate of candidates in Districts 2, 5, 6 and 8.
In District 1, the towns of New Hampton and Center Harbor, there will be a rematch for the one seat between incumbent Republican Valerie Fraser and Democrat Ruth Gulick, both of New Hampton. In 2014, Gulick lost the seat to Fraser by a vote of 738 to 688.
In District 2, where four representatives are elected from the towns of Gilford and Meredith, two incumbent Republicans, Glen Aldrich of Gilford and Herb Vadney of Meredith, are joined on the GOP ticket by newcomers Norm Silber of Gilford and Mark Abear of Meredith. They will be challenged by three Democrats, all from Gilford, Lisa DiMartino, Dorothy Piquado and Johan Anderson.
In District 3, which elects four representatives from the city of Laconia, incumbent Republicans Don Flanders, Frank Tilton and Peter Spanos have been joined on the GOP ticket by Jim McCoole. Five Democrats — Tom Dawson, Tony Felch, David Huot, Liz Merry and Charlie St. Clair — will vie for the four slots on the general ballot in a primary election in September.
In District 4, the towns of Sanbornton and Tilton, three Republicans, incumbent Dennis Fields as well as John Vorel and Richard Brothers — all from Sanbornton — have filed for the two slots on the general election ballot with the nominees to be chose by the primary election in September. The two Democratic candidates are Ian Raymond of Sanbornton and Rich Burke of Tilton.
In District 5, the towns of Gilmanton and Alton where two representatives are elected, one candidate from each party has filed for the election — Republican Michael Mahoney and Democrat Elizabeth Abbott — both from Gilmanton.
In District 6, the town of Belmont, with two seats, John Plumer has filed as a Republican and Diane Lacey, former president of the State Employees Association, has filed as a Democrat.
In District 7, the town of Barnstead, two Republicans will contest the nomination for the lone seat in a primary election, Former representative Elaine Swinford and Barbara Comtois, the wife of the incumbent Guy Comtois.
In District 8, the towns of Alton, Barnstead and Gilmanton, Republican Ray Howard of Alton, the incumbent, is the only candidate to file for the one seat.
In District 9, the city of Laconia and town of Belmont where one representative is elected, incumbent Republican Robert Fisher of Laconia will be challenged by Democrat Beth Arsenault.
Both parties have fielded a full slate of candidates for other state offices.
The contest for the Executive Council seat in District 1 will be a rematch between the incumbent Republican Joe Kenney of Wakefield and Democrat Michael Cryans of Lebanon. In 2014, Kenney topped Cryans by a vote 49,260 to 47,798.
In Senate District 2, two Republicans, Brian Gallagher of Sanbornton and Bob Guida of Warren will face off in a primary election in September to determine who will run against Charles Chandler of Warren, the lone Democrat to file for the seat, in the general election.
In Senate District 7 incumbent Democrat Andrew Hosmer of Laconia will be challenged by Republican Harold French of Franklin.
Republicans have fielded a full slate of candidates for Belknap County offices, all of which are held by Republicans while the Democrats are contesting only one seat on the county commission.
Former Laconia Police Chief Mike Moyer and deputy county sheriff William Wright will vie to succeed County Sheriff Craig Wiggin. Incumbent Republican Melissa Countway Gulbrandsen is seeking re-election as county attorney and is joined on the GOP ticket by Michael Muzzey, the incumbent county treasurer and incumbent register of deeds Judy McGrath.
Two Republicans, both from Gilmanton, incumbent Dick Burchell and Glen Waring, former director of finance for the county, will contest the nomination for county commissioner in District 2, the towns of Barnstead, Belmont, Gilmanton and Tilton. The lone Democrat to file for county office, Cherie Willoughby of Belmont, will face the winner of the GOP primary in the general election.
Two Republicans, both from Alton, the incumbent Hunter Taylor and the challenger Jonathan Smolin, will vie for the nomination for county commissioner in Distrct 3, the towns of Alton, Gilford, Meredith and Center Harbor.
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