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NH Politics

Republicans win 2 seats in N.H. House, with voter turnout boost from presidential primary

Voters in Coos County District 1 elected Sean C. Durkin of Northumberland, and voters in Coos County District 6 elected Michael P. Murphy of Gorham, according to unofficial results

The New Hampshire House of Representatives meets on Jan. 3, 2024. (Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff)Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

Republicans won two special elections Tuesday for seats in the New Hampshire House, expanding their narrow margin in the 400-member chamber, thanks partly to a boost from the presidential primary.

Voters in Coos County District 1 elected Sean C. Durkin of Northumberland, and voters in Coos County District 6 elected Michael P. Murphy of Gorham, according to unofficial results.

Once those representatives-elect are sworn in, Republicans will hold 200 seats in the House, while Democrats hold 195, independents hold three, and two seats remain vacant.

Representative Ross Berry of Manchester, who serves as vice chairman of the Committee to Elect House Republicans, credited campaign staffers for former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley and former president Donald J. Trump for running “monstrous turnout games” that helped to drive GOP voters to the polls.

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“Their fierce competition helped us win,” Berry said.

While the seat Durkin won had been held by a Republican, the seat Murphy won had been held by a Democrat, so Tuesday’s wins gave the GOP a marked improvement in their effort to push back against a series of Democratic special election victories.

Representative Laura Telerski of Nashua, who chairs the NH House Democratic Victory Campaign Committee, expressed pride in the campaigns Democratic candidates Cathleen Fountain and Edith Tucker ran in Coos County districts 1 and 6, respectively. The election results represent high GOP turnout because of the presidential primary and don’t reflect either campaign’s operations, she said.

“As we have said before, as soon as the Republicans set the calendar for this race, we knew the deck would be stacked against us,” Telerski said. “Both women have a long-standing dedication to public service, and they both stepped up to the task.”

Telerski said Democrats “are still on the brink of the majority,” with a well-funded caucus operation looking ahead to the November election.

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In addition to the two special elections in Coos County, the Democrats had contested primaries Tuesday for special elections in Strafford and Rockingham counties. By running multiple candidates in these races, the Democrats ensured the special general elections in these districts wouldn’t also coincide with the presidential primary. Those races will be decided March 12.


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Steven Porter can be reached at steven.porter@globe.com. Follow him @reporterporter.