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Democrats Retake Both Chambers Of New Hampshire Legislature

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Tuesday's election results handed Democrats control of both chambers of the New Hampshire Legislature for the first time in nearly a decade. With Republican Gov. Chris Sununu winning a second term, the stage is set for divided government in Concord for the next two years.

In the Senate, Democrats overcame an unfavorable map to flip several Republican-held seats and take a 14-10 majority.

On the Seacoast, challengers Jon Morgan and Tom Sherman both defeated GOP incumbents.

Sherman says with Sununu retaining the governor’s office, Democratic lawmakers will have to work with the GOP - not against them - to get legislation passed.

“We need to get the work done together to solve the issues facing the state and I’m hoping that we will get a better product because we worked together,” he said.

Democrats also flipped Republican-held seats west of Concord and in Nashua.

With the new majority, Manchester’s Donna Soucy is expected to become Senate President. Soucy says health care, education and job training will be Democratic priorities, and that the party will work with Sununu when it can.

“I think many of us have worked with the incumbent governor, and a good idea is a good idea, no matter who has it," she said, "So I think that we want to make sure that whatever we do, it is in the best interests of the people of the state of New Hampshire.”

Credit Allegra Boverman for NHPR
Democratic state Senator Donna Soucy spoke with NHPR's Lauren Chooljian at Chris Pappas' campaign headquarters Tuesday

Republican Jeb Bradley of Wolfeboro won his reelection effort. The outgoing majority leader pointed the blame on Democrats outspending the GOP during the campaign.

“Other than that, I’m not sure there was any one single issue that galvanized things. I think maybe we didn’t get enough credit for how good the economy is,” he said.

The Democrats will also hold a roughly 60 seat majority in the 400-seat New Hampshire House, the first time the party has had control in the lower chamber since the 2012 election.

Democratic leader Steve Shurtleff of Penacook will look to become Speaker.

“We now have a duty to work for the people who elected us to push for an end to the opioid crisis, expand access to affordable health care, and create the paid family and medical leave program Granite Staters need,” said Shurtleff. “Tonight is not just a good night for Democrats. It’s a good night for the people of New Hampshire.”

Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University. He can be reached at tbookman@nhpr.org.
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