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Democrats Capture Majority on N.H.'s Executive Council

NHPR File Photo

Next year, Republican Governor Chris Sununu will be working with a Democratic majority in the legislature and on the Executive Council. 

The last time the five-member council was majority Democrat was in 2014.

The Council reviews the Governor's hiring decisions and approves state contracts.

Historically, it has been seen as non-partisan, but in recent years it has become more political - with fights over Planned Parenthood, light rail, and staffing appointments.

[Local Election Results: N.H. House of Representatives]

Debora Pignatelli of Nashua is one of the incoming Democrats. 

She previously served on the Council for eight years. She says she may fight with the Governor on some issues, but ultimately, she wants the council to be nonpartisan and serve its original purpose:

"My hope is that that we'll be a check on our Governor," she says, "The way the Council is supposed to work."

The new makeup of the council is three Democrats and two Republicans. Two of the races were won by less than 2 percent. 

In the most expensive Executive Council race, Republican Ted Gatsas, a former Manchester mayor and past state senator, beat Gray Chynoweth to flip the seat formerly held by Democrat and Congressman-Elect Chris Pappas.

Sarah Gibson joined NHPR's newsroom in 2018. She reports on education and demographics.
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