LACONIA — The makeup of the four-person delegation of Belknap House District 3 will remain split evenly between Republicans and Democrats after the fifth-place finisher, who lost by just 10 votes, said he will not ask for a recount.
Based on the final tabulation from the Laconia City Clerk’s Office, the winners are Republicans Peter Spanos and Frank Tilton, with 2,985 votes and 2,983 votes, respectively; and Democrats David Huot and Gail Ober, who garnered 2,878 and 2,579 votes, respectively. Spanos, Tiloton, and Huot are incumbents.
Republican Richard Beaudoin received 2,569 votes, 10 votes fewer than Ober. When contacted on Wednesday, Beaudoin said he had no intention of asking for a recount.
“I’m not that small-minded,” he said.
He noted that he entered the race at the urging of local Republican Party organizers. He said he would wait and see on whether he would run again in two years.
The other losing candidates were Democratic incumbent Phil Spagnuolo, who received 2,535 votes; Carlos Cardona, also a Democrat, who received 2,337 votes, and Republican Hans Larrson, who got 2,487 votes.
Spanos, Tilton, Beaudoin, and Larsson carried the city’s traditional Republican strongholds of Ward 1 and Ward 6, but Huot and Ober were able to overcome their deficits by piling up votes in the city’s other four wards.
”I thank everyone who voted for me,” Ober said Wednesday, “and I will work as hard as I can for all the people of Laconia.”
Ober said she went to bed Tuesday night thinking that she had narrowly lost to Beaudoin and did know that she had won until 6:30 Wednesday morning when a friend texted her from Florida, offering her congratulations.
While the Democrats did not make any gains in the city’s House district, they managed to flip enough seats statewide to win majorities in both the state Senate and House.
Huot, who was re-elected to his third consecutive term, said he hope that the new makeup of the Legislature would be “an opportunity to get some things done” — specifically the state retirement system, environmental matters and infrastructure improvements.
Huot also said that he is prepared to introduce a bill in the coming legislative term to reverse some of the provisions in the state’s new voting law, which critics charge amounts to voter suppression. The bill passed in the Republican-controlled Legislature last year along party lines.
Spanos, the top vote-getter, said he was heartened by the turnout Tuesday, which set a record for an off-year election.
He said that, with Democrats poised to have a majority in the House, Republican lawmakers will have to reach across the aisle to get necessary bills passed. He also said that, if Democrats do manage to pass bills over strong Republican opposition, GOP lawmakers will rely on Gov. Chris Sununu to veto the bills.
Michael Mortensen can be contacted at email@example.com