Four vying for N.H. District 23 seat

Milford Selectman Paul Dargie is one of four Milford Democrats who have signed up to run for four seats in Hillsborough County’s House District 23.

Potential candidates had until 5 p.m. Friday, June 15 to file for the Sept. 11 party primary elections that will decide which candidates will run in the Nov. 6 general election.

In Milford District 23, four Democrats will face four Republicans, including incumbents Carolyn Halstead and Charlie Burns, on primary election day, Sept. 11.

“With Republicans in charge, things have not gone as I would have liked,” said Dargie in a phone interview. He classifies himself as a mainstream Democrat who supports some gun control and gay rights and is against the death penalty and school vouchers. A long time Milford School Board member, he opposes what he calls the downshifting of costs from the state to the local level.

Also running in the District 23 primary are incumbent Democrat state Rep. Joelle Martin, Democrat newcomers John Frazier and Peter Petrigno and Republican newcomers Michael Thornton and John Yule.

For Amherst’s House District 22, there are three Democrats and three Republicans, including two incumbents, signed up for the three seats. GOP incumbents Peter Hansen and Reed Panasiti and newcomers Scott Courtemanche will face Democrats Megan Murray, Julie Radhakrishnan and Daniel Veilleux in November.

Further up the ticket, Democrat Debora Pignatelli, of Nashua, announced a few months ago she is running against incumbent David Wheeler, of Milford, for his District 5 Executive Council race.

State Sen. Gary Daniels (R) has a primary challenge from Amherst state Rep. Shannon Chandley (D), and Roger Tilton, a Milford Democrat, has also signed up for the state Senate District 11 primary race against Chandley. The district covers Amherst, Merrimack, Milford and Wilton. Tilton lost elections for state representative in 2008 and 2012 and for state senate in 2010, 2014 and 2016.

No local people have filed for District 4 – Wilton, Lyndeborough, Francestown and Greenville.

For House District 38, a floterial district that spreads over 10 towns, there is one local primary candidate, Chris Balch, of Wilton.

Incumbent Gerald Griffin has signed up for District 5 – Mont Vernon and New Boston – along with Glen Dickey of New Boston. Both are Republicans.

Through the 20th century, towns in this area have tended to favor Republicans for the state Legislature, but they can also be unpredictable.

Hillsborough County is considered one of the “pivot counties” that voted Obama-Obama-Trump, twice for Obama and then for Trump, according to Ballotpedia, the nonpartisan online political encyclopedia.

There are only 206 pivot counties, out of 3,088 counties in the U.S., and they had an outsized impact on the election results. Despite casting only 5 percent of the national vote total in 2016, they accounted for 51 percent of the popular vote shift toward Republicans.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or