The Bulletin Board

State Senate has new faces but the same 14-10 Republican majority

By: - November 10, 2022 12:27 pm

The New Hampshire Senate chamber. (Annmarie Timmins | New Hampshire Bulletin)

The results are in, and barring a recount reversing the outcome of any of the 24 state Senate races, New Hampshire Republicans have won a 14-10 majority in the upper chamber. That’s the same margin Republicans had last session, but some key players have changed.

Turnover was guaranteed in at least a third of the races, just based on the incumbents who retired or ran for a different office. And initial results show that nine races yielded a non-incumbent winner, with just one incumbent who was seeking reelection getting ousted. That was Republican Gary Daniels, who lost to Shannon Chandley. It wasn’t the first time the two faced off: Chandley beat Daniels in 2018 but lost to him in 2020 to represent District 11. That loss, combined with the high turnover, means no current Republican members of the Senate Finance committee will return.

District 11, near the Massachusetts border, was among the most competitive, as was District 12, also located in the southern part of the state. Incumbent Republican Sen. Kevin Avard won there, defeating Democratic challenger Melanie Levesque by 688 votes, or around a 2.5 percent margin.  

And other familiar faces will return to the Senate this session: Democratic incumbents Becky Whitley, David Watters, Suzanne Prentiss, Cindy Rosenwald, Donna Soucy, and Lou D’Allesandro all won reelection.

On the Republican side, Bill Gannon, Sharon Carson, Denise Ricciardi, Ruth Ward, James Gray, and Jeb Bradley were reelected. Bradley defeated Democratic challenger Bill Marsh, a doctor who left the Republican Party to become a Democrat after Republican leadership opposed vaccine mandates. Bradley won by a significant margin in District 3, which is heavily Republican and where he’s earned name recognition from decades in politics.

Two incumbents ran unopposed, guaranteeing a seat for each party: Democratic Sen. Rebecca Perkins Kwoka and Republican Sen. Regina Birdsell.

Of the newcomers, several have graduated from the lower chamber to now serve in the upper chamber. That’s the case for Republicans Timothy Lang, Howard Pearl, and Daryl Abbas, as well as Keith Murphy, a former House member.

On the Democratic side, Debra Altschiller also made the leap from the House to the Senate, winning the District 24 seat held by Tom Sherman, who was defeated in the gubernatorial race by Gov. Chris Sununu. Donovan Fenton, another state representative, won District 10, which now includes the Democratic strongholds of Keene and Peterborough thanks to redistricting.

And Republican Daniel Innis will return to the Senate to represent District 7, after representing District 24 in 2016. He also owns a farm in Bradford and works as a professor of marketing and hospitality management at the University of New Hampshire.

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Amanda Gokee
Amanda Gokee

Amanda Gokee is the New Hampshire Bulletin’s energy and environment reporter. She previously reported on these issues at VTDigger. Amanda grew up in Vermont and is a graduate of Harvard University. She received her master’s degree in liberal studies, with a concentration in creative writing, from Dartmouth College. Her work has also appeared in the LA Review of Books and the Valley News.