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Author Topic: ET - Most N.H. voters stayed away from the polls  (Read 1129 times)
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« on: September 10, 2008, 12:07:59 PM »

from the Eagle Tribune

Most N.H. voters stayed away from the polls
By James A. Kimble
September 10, 2008 01:43 am

The lowest voter turnout in recent memory was chalked up to a lack of contested primary races.

But Republicans came out to give the 1st Congressional District primary to Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, over former Health and Human Services Commissioner John Stephen.

With 86 of 113 precincts reporting, Bradley held a 13,595 to 12,780 lead. Stephen conceded about 10:40 p.m., paving the way for Bradley to try to reclaim his former congressional seat from incumbent Democrat Carol Shea-Porter.

Former columnist and talk show host Jennifer Horn beat three other Republicans in the 2nd Congressional District race, including state Sen. Bob Clegg. She will face off against first-term Democratic Congressman Paul Hodes, who faced no opposition in the primary.

Bigger races yielded what were largely predictable results. Gov. John Lynch and Republican rival Joe Kenney topped the ticket in the race for governor.

U.S. Senator John Sununu and former Democratic Gov. Jeanne Shaheen easily defeated minor candidates in their parties, setting the stage for a rematch of 2002.

Sununu, then a congressman, beat Shaheen, then the governor, by 4 percentage points. Yet now he is considered one of the nation's most vulnerable Senate incumbents. Shaheen hopes to capitalize on that by linking Sununu to the unpopularity of President Bush.

But in towns like Salem, Republican candidates remained the heavy favorites, and more Republicans turned out to vote yesterday.

Nearly 1,500 Republicans voted in Salem yesterday, compared with 900 Democrats. But it was a dismal turnout at best — only 13 percent of the town's 18,900 registered voters cast ballots.

Even the weather was viewed as a secondary reason to keep people home.

"The rain hurt us in the middle of the day ... but frankly, there's no races on the Democratic side, so statistically it was a Republican race," Town Moderator Christopher Goodnow said.

The same kind of turnout played out in surrounding towns.

Pelham saw just 8 percent of its registered voters at the polls.

But Windham and Atkinson, which both had Special Town Meetings yesterday, drew a few more voters ¬­— 19 percent and 18 percent, respectively.

Peter Griffin, Windham's town moderator, said the school access road definitely boosted the turnout in his town. Voters again rejected a secondary access road for the new high school. Atkinson voters overwhelmingly supported new water withdrawal ordinances.


Glenn Douglas
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