Candidates Jockey in Sullivan Races

Valley News Correspondent
Saturday, June 23, 2018

Newport — Democrats and Republicans in Sullivan County have a full slate of candidates for the 13 New Hampshire seats up for election in November.

But before the general election, Democrats need to settle two primaries on Sept. 11. In Sullivan 4, representing Claremont’s Ward 2, former state Rep. Larry Converse is running against Gary Merchant for the right to face incumbent Republican John O’Connor. In Sullivan 6, with two seats representing Unity and Newport, incumbent Virginia Irwin, D-Newport, is on the primary ballot with former Democratic state Rep. Peter Franklin and Larry Flint, both from Newport.

On the Republican side for Sullivan 6, former County Commissioner and current Unity Selectboard member John Callum and state Rep. Skip Rollins, R- Newport, will be on the ballot in November.

Other Republican incumbents who have filed to run include Thomas Laware, Charlestown, Sullivan 8; Steve Smith, Charlestown, Sullivan 11; and Frances Gauthier, Claremont, Sullivan 3. In Sullivan 5, representing Claremont’s Ward 3, Walt Stapleton will face Democrat Chad Rolston for the seat now held by Democratic state Rep. Ray Gagnon, who is not seeking re-election and instead is running for register of probate in Sullivan County against Republican Timothy O’Hearne.

Sullivan County Democratic incumbents running again include Lee Oxenham, of Plainfield, and Brian Sullivan, of Grantham, for the two seats in Sullivan 1; Sue Gottling, of Sunapee, Sullivan 2; Linda Tanner, Sunapee, Sullivan 9; and John Cloutier, Claremont, Sullivan 10.

City Councilor and former state Rep. Andrew O’Hearne, D-Claremont, is challenging Gauthier; Republicans Virginia Drye, of Plainfield, and Tanya McIntire, of Grantham, are hoping to unseat Oxenham and Sullivan; Gates Lucas, a Sunapee Republican, will square off against Gottling for Sullivan 2; Claremont Republican Conlin Smith is going up against Cloutier; and Tanner is being challenged in Sullivan 9 by Plainfield Republican Margaret Drye, Virginia’s mother.

In county races, incumbent commissioner Jeff Barrette, a longtime Democrat who voted as a Republican in the presidential primary in 2016 but failed to change his party affiliation back to Democratic, will now have to win the Republican primary against Jeremy Herrell, of Claremont, to be on the ballot for the District 1 commissioner’s seat in November. There is no candidate on the Democratic side for the seat.

Commissioner George Hebert, a Goshen Republican, is running opposed for his seat.

Sullivan County Attorney Marc Hathaway, Sheriff John Simonds, Register of Deeds Janet Gibson and Treasurer Mike Sanderson, all Republicans, also are unopposed.

For the Senate 8 district, which includes Newport area towns, incumbent Ruth Ward, R-Stoddard, will face Jenn Alford-Teaster, a Sutton Democrat.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at pogclmt@gmail.com.