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Democrats Again Dominate Grafton County

Barbara Dutile, of Haverhill, loads campaign signs supporting her husband, Grafton County Sheriff Doug Dutile, for re-election in the back of their truck in Canaan while driving around the county picking up signs. “It’s always easiest to take the signs down the day after the election, and especially this time because of the storm supposed to come tonight,” she said. 
Valley News — Sarah Priestap

Barbara Dutile, of Haverhill, loads campaign signs supporting her husband, Grafton County Sheriff Doug Dutile, for re-election in the back of their truck in Canaan while driving around the county picking up signs. “It’s always easiest to take the signs down the day after the election, and especially this time because of the storm supposed to come tonight,” she said. Valley News — Sarah Priestap Purchase photo reprints »

Lebanon — Tuesday was a good day for Democrats in Grafton County seats, most notably with a win for Martha Richards, who gained her seat back after Omer Ahern, R-Plymouth, ousted her in 2010.

Carol Elliott, a Plymouth Republican, also lost her seat to Hanover Democrat Bonnie McCrory Parker for county treasurer.

This is the second time in four years Elliott has lost her position to a Hanover Democrat. In 2008, Elliott lost to 20-year-old Vanessa Sievers, a Dartmouth College student who rode the wave of President Obama supporters.

Kelley Jean Monahan, an Orford Democrat, also kept her position as register of deeds, beating Littleton Republican Tyler Drummond.

Republicans and Democrats alike said the Democratic heavy votes were likely contributed to by student turnout in Hanover and support for President Obama and straight ticket voters. Other candidates also blamed the “extreme right” views in Concord for the votes in favor of Democrats.

“I think the mood of the state of the country, the radical agenda, didn’t appeal to our mostly centrist citizens,” Richards said. “I think the radical agenda and cut, cut, cut and promising lower taxes isn’t always the best way.”

Official numbers for Grafton County seats weren’t available yesterday, but Richards, a 65-year-old Holderness resident, said by her own unofficial count that she beat Ahern by more than 1,000 votes. Richards was a commissioner from 2006 to 2010 before Ahern took her position.

Now that she has won, she said she plans to focus on the aging population in Grafton County and the shortage of housing and services for the county’s seniors, as ell as mental health services. And Richards is anxious to see the wood chip biomass plant be complete, which she continued to work on after she was ousted from her commissioner role.

Official numbers weren’t available for the treasurer race either, but Republicans and Democrats both believe that Parker won the race. Parker beat Elliott by high margins in Hanover and Lebanon. In Hanover, where Parker resides, she won by 3,852 to 1,655, and in Lebanon she won 3,796 to 2,244.

The race for treasurer is the first time Parker has run for office, compared to Elliott, who has been county treasurer for eight years and was formerly the Plymouth town clerk for 18 years, 11 of which she was also town treasurer. Elliott could not be reached before press time.

Parker said in an interview last week that she was a strong President Obama supporter and she hoped to ride support for him.

“I have no illusion that people were voting for Bonnie Parker, unless they thought I was from Bonnie and Clyde. They were likely voting for the blue ticket or they were voting against Carol Elliott,” Parker said.

Drummond, the 27-year-old Littleton Republican who lost to Monahan for register of deeds, contributed his loss to a high turnout from college students in Hanover and Plymouth. He added that once he saw the results for Hanover, where he lost by 2,680 votes, and Lebanon, where he lost by 2,271 votes, he knew he couldn’t win.

“I’m not saying that they don’t have the right to vote, but college kids traditionally get picked up by the Democrat ticket,” Drummond said.

Long-time Grafton County Sheriff Doug Dutile, R-Haverhill, also beat Joshua Dickey, an Independent from Orford.

Sarah Brubeck can be reached at sbrubeck@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.