By PAULA TRACY, InDepthNH.org
CONCORD – “It is safe to say” Republicans have taken the state House, Senate and Executive Council majorities, Secretary of State William Gardner said Wednesday at noon.
“It’s not official,” Gardner said, adding he expects to have final tabulations up for the public by 6 p.m., but it looks like a 4-1 Executive Council, a 13-11 Senate and at least a 203-197 majority in the House of Representatives.
That’s a total flip from Democrats controlling all three as they currently have, and it will make it a lot easier for Republican Gov. Chris Sununu to get legislation, appointments and generally his political way for the next two years.
Gardner said some results were still yet to come in but, he said UNH Pollster Andy Smith got it right in the last 10 days, using a formula that had him predicting Republican control of both chambers and the Executive Council.
Preliminary figures show Sununu won 64 percent of the vote to state Sen. Dan Feltes, a Democrat who received 33 percent of the vote.
That is in spite of the fact that the Democrat at the top of the ballot, Joe Biden, won the state over President Donald Trump 53 to 45 percent.
Sununu called for unity after the election and said he wanted to work with all to make life better in New Hampshire.
“No matter the challenges we’ve faced over these past few months, Granite Staters have come together and delivered for our communities. I have no doubt that we will continue to do so. New Hampshire’s best days lie ahead,” Sununu said.
Gardner said he felt Sununu was going to win by a large margin after the September primary when more than 10 percent of Democrats left the ballot blank for governor, choosing neither Feltes or Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky, and more than 5,000 wrote in Sununu or his brother’s name John Sununu.
He said it appears that Executive Council District 1 race will go to Republican Joe Kenney, upsetting incumbent Democrat Mike Cryans with 4,600 votes still out there to be tabulated, missing from the towns of New Durham, Success and Wentworth’s Location.
District 2 was won by a Democrat, Cinde Warmington over Republican Jim Beard by 11 percentage points.
District 3 race was still in play, but Gardner said those numbers do not include Salem, a Republican-leaning town, with Janet Stevens, Republican ahead of Democrat Mindi Messmer by 5,000 votes.
District 4 incumbent Republican Ted Gatsas won over Democrat Mark MacKenzie, Gardner said. And the last question mark for the council make up was District 5 with incumbent Debora Pignatelli in a rematch with Republican Dave Wheeler.
Wheeler was ahead by 2,500 votes at noon, Gardner said, but results from Nashua Ward 7 were still not tabulated nor were the votes in Fitzwilliam for Pignatelli.
Sununu is likely to renominate Attorney General Gordon MacDonald to be the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court if he has a Republican majority. The council also votes on all department heads and approves state contracts.
In the Senate, Gardner said it looked like a 13-11 switch to the Republicans and in the House, 28 districts were still out there to be tabulated but at noon, he said there might likely be more Republicans than the 203 he was counting in the 400-seat House.