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Osgood Wins Claremont Seat

  • Republican Joe Osgood stands outside the polls at Claremont Middle School in Claremont yesterday. Osgood, a former N.H. House member, was re-elected to the State House, representing the city’s Ward II in a special election. (Valley News - Libby March)

    Republican Joe Osgood stands outside the polls at Claremont Middle School in Claremont yesterday. Osgood, a former N.H. House member, was re-elected to the State House, representing the city’s Ward II in a special election. (Valley News - Libby March) Purchase photo reprints »

  • New Hampshire House Democrat candidate Larry Converse, left, waves to a potential voter, standing with House Representative John Cloutier outside the polls at Claremont Middle School in Claremont. (Valley News - Libby March)

    New Hampshire House Democrat candidate Larry Converse, left, waves to a potential voter, standing with House Representative John Cloutier outside the polls at Claremont Middle School in Claremont. (Valley News - Libby March) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Republican Joe Osgood stands outside the polls at Claremont Middle School in Claremont yesterday. Osgood, a former N.H. House member, was re-elected to the State House, representing the city’s Ward II in a special election. (Valley News - Libby March)
  • New Hampshire House Democrat candidate Larry Converse, left, waves to a potential voter, standing with House Representative John Cloutier outside the polls at Claremont Middle School in Claremont. (Valley News - Libby March)

Claremont — Republican Joe Osgood is heading back to the Legislature after defeating Democrat Larry Converse in a special election yesterday for the House seat representing the city’s Ward II district.

Osgood, who served in the Democrat-lead House before losing a State Senate race for District 5 in November, defeated Converse 322-246, or 57 to 43 percent. The election was necessary after the resignation of Democrat Tom Donovan earlier this year.

“I’m happy. I’m glad and I’m going down there to do what I’ve always done and that is to be a conservative,” said Osgood, outside the polls at the Claremont Middle School after the results were announced.

Turnout was slightly less than 23 percent of the district’s 2,514 registered voters.

Spec Bowers, a former state representative from Sunapee and the current chairman of the Sullivan County Republican Committee, resisted suggestions that the election of one House member in a 400-seat chamber had broader implications about the mood of the electorate.

“Special elections never have real implications,” said Bowers, who lost his House seat in November.

“Republicans will say its means things are turning around and Democrats will say it is because Osgood is so well known but from what I have heard, an election like this is about turnout. They don’t campaign on the issues.

“I’d like to think it is a good sign but I can’t. I know better.”

Osgood, 59, was elected in a special election in 2005 and served three, two-year terms before his defeat last November.

“I really have to attribute it (the win) to name recognition and my honesty,” Osgood said. “I won the Senate race in the same ward.”

He labels himself as a believer in small government and fully behind the Second Amendment.

“I live on those values and that seemed to have paid off tonight,” he said.

Osgood said he expects to be sworn in shortly and will be in Concord for the upcoming budget votes. He also said he will make his voice heard at the county delegation over the proposed budget.

“I’ll have some things to say because I don’t like what I see,” he said, alluding to the tax rate impact in the proposed county budget.

As for his victory, Osgood said his opponent and the Democrats put a lot effort into the race and had he not given the same effort, the results could have been different. He gave credit for the win to the strong support he received from people in and out of the district as well as the county Republican Committee

“I got a lot of calls from people saying ‘what can we do to help you,’ ” he said, adding that northern supporters from his Senate campaign came down to help him in this election.

Converse, 70, is also a former state representative, last serving from 2004 to 2008. He came over to congratulate Osgood outside the middle school. His only comment was that he may try another run in 2014.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at ogrady56@yahoo.com.