State Senate Roundup: Pierce Defeats Osgood

— The New Hampshire Senate seat in the heart of the Upper Valley will remain in Democratic hands for at least the next two years.

State Rep. David Pierce, D-Etna, handily defeated fellow three-term state Rep. Joe Osgood, R-Claremont, by a 4-1 ratio in Hanover, a 2-1 ratio in Lebanon, and lost, but only narrowly, in Claremont under the newly drawn District 5 race.

With partial results in last night, Republican incumbents in other Upper Valley Senate seats appeared to be fending off challenges in the Lakes Region, Senate District 2, and the Newport-area, Senate District 8.

Pierce last night said he was “excited beyond belief” to represent the district, and emphasized that he would work with all the constituents of his district, Republican or Democrat.

“I will have a listening ear in the Senate and I’m there for everyone,” Pierce said. “We may not agree but we will always talk.”

For his part, Osgood said he was now considering getting more involved in the Upper Valley Tea Party, but otherwise planned just to “regroup for a while.”

“I’m going to try and go into the survival mode in my business if the Democrats take charge of the House, because they’re going to destroy business in the state,” said Osgood, who owns an automotive repair shop in Claremont.

Both candidates said late yesterday afternoon that voter turnout was high across the district, which stretches along the Connecticut River from Lyme to Charlestown, and also includes the major population centers of Hanover, Claremont and Lebanon, as well as the towns of Enfield, Plainfield, Cornish and Canaan.

A lawyer who grew up in Texas, Pierce, 49, served as vice chairman of the House Election Law Committee for the 2009-2010 session.

Ogsood, 59, was born and raised in Claremont where he has lived all his life. He served all three of his legislative terms on the House Ways and Means Committee, and was also chairman of the Executive Finance Committee for Sullivan County in his most recent term.

Late yesterday afternoon, Pierce said that Hanover had exceeded what the campaign had expected in terms of voter turnout, and added that voters showing up at the polls in the college town despite new voter ID laws passed earlier this year “says a lot.”

“These measures to try and suppress the vote obviously are not working,” Pierce said.

“People have had enough of the games of playing with their rights, and this increased turnout is a repudiation of that.”

Osgood said yesterday evening that he had been to “nearly every polling place” in the district over the course of the day, and that there was relatively high turnout in each town.

“That could be good for me, especially if the independent voters did their homework,” he said.

Senate District 2

With 18 of 27 precincts reporting last night, First-term Republican incumbent state Sen. Jeanie Forrester, of Meredith, was leading Holderness Democrat Bob Lamb, a former bank executive. Forrester had 8,755 votes to Lamb’s 7,234.

The Senate district representing part of the Lakes Region also includes the Grafton County towns of Haverhill, Piermont, Orford, Orange, Dorchester and Grafton.

Senate District 8

With 18 of 24 precincts reporting last night, longtime incumbent Republican state Sen. Bob Odell, of Lempster, was leading Bennington Democrat Ckristopher Wallenstein. Odell had 13,224 votes to Wallenstein’s 8,294.

The newly drawn district includes the towns of Grantham, Springfield, Newport, New London, Croydon, Sunapee, Unity, and Weare.

As of last night, with ten out of 24 towns reporting, Odell had 10,198 votes to Wallenstein’s 6,368 votes.