Tie-breaker: Roll the dice

Ward 4 City Council candidates each got 80 votes in primary


LACONIA — With 80 votes apiece, Mark Haynes and Breanna Henderson will need to rely on lady luck to settle their contest for second place in the Ward 4 City Council primary.

Longtime incumbent Brenda Baer finished first with 130 votes on Tuesday, ensuring she will appear on the Nov. 7 general election ballot. The top two candidates in the primary advance to the general election.

Baer's opponent will be either Haynes or Henderson, to be “determined by lot,” as required under state law.

City Clerk Mary Reynolds said they will roll dice at City Hall at 3 p.m. Thursday to determine the winner. The highest number wins. If they tie, they will roll again.

Haynes said he is no dice player.

“And I'm not very lucky either,” he said.

He said the tie shows just how important it is to vote.

“It shows you every vote counts,” he said.

There are 1,739 registered voters in Ward 4 and 302 votes were cast, for a turnout of 17 percent.

Haynes and Henderson both said they have no intention of requesting a recount.

Henderson said she wasn't surprised at the tie.

“Nothing really surprises me in politics any more,” she said Wednesday. “I am amused.”

In other City Council primaries, Ward 2 incumbent Councilor David Bownes advanced to the general election along with Richard Beaudoin, an electronics repair shop owner.

In Ward 1, the two candidates to advance to the general election were Susan Hodgkins, a real estate agent, and Bruce Cheney, a former Laconia police chief and the man largely responsible for developing the state’s 911 system.

Meanwhile, Mayor Ed Engler, Ward 3 Councilor Henry Lipman and Ward 5 Councilor Robert Hamel face no competition. Ward 6 Councilor Armand Bolduc is being challenged by restaurateur Reuben Bassett, but since there are only two candidates in that race, there was no need for a primary.

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Mayhew plans to expand services

Meredith funeral home wants to build new cremation location

MEREDITH — Peter and Kelley Mayhew will be going before the Meredith Zoning Board of Adjustment tonight (Thursday), seeking a variance to allow the Mayhew Funeral Home to build a crematorium on Commerce Court.
Peter Mayhew said the funeral home is looking to provide for both human and pet cremations in order to better serve the community.
“We want to expand what we’re doing now and involve pet cremations,” Mayhew said. “There is nothing in the area that does anything like that. It boils down to we need room to expand.”
He explained that the state does not allow the chamber used for humans to be used for animal cremations. Instead, there have to be separate brick-lined chambers for receiving the bodies of humans and animals.
The new, larger facility being proposed in the Business/Industry District would be for cremation only, with the funeral home remaining at its current location at 204 Daniel Webster Highway.
The Mayhews, who also operate a funeral home in Plymouth, are looking build the new facility on property for which Charles E. Thorndike is the trustee.
The Zoning Board also will be hearing a request for a special exception to allow Scott and Colleen Nolan to build a home with attached garage on Red Pine Road in the Meredith Neck District. The special exception is necessary because the property lies within the wetland buffer.
The meeting is scheduled at 7 p.m. at the Meredith Community Center, where the future use of the crematorium at their current location will also be discussed.

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State Democratic chair says St. Clair victory part of trend

09 13 Charlie St. Clair

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)


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.

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