Enfield Selectboard picks dates for special election to fill state representative seat

By LIZ SAUCHELLI

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 04-20-2023 8:06 AM

ENFIELD — The Selectboard will ask Gov. Chris Sununu and the Executive Council to approve Oct. 3 as the date for special election to fill a House seat vacated by Joshua Adjutant earlier this month.

The Selectboard, which met Monday night, approved Aug. 15 for the primary election and Oct. 3 for the special election. The candidate filing period would be from June 19-23. A request will be presented to the Executive Council at its June 14 meeting.

Adjutant, a Democrat, resigned his seat on April 1 after he suffered a head injury on March 27 in an assault by a patient at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, where he’s employed as a security guard, according to a police affidavit filed in Grafton County Superior Court. Adjutant had served in the House since 2018 and was re-elected in 2022 without a challenger.

Since Adjutant’s seat only covers Enfield, it is up to the town whether or not to start the process of filling that position, Enfield Town Manager Ed Morris said during Monday night’s meeting, citing state law.

“I would recommend we look at holding a special election moving forward, since we’re still in the first session of a biennium and it would be nice to have a representative for next year,” Morris said.

The only other lawmaker in the House who represents Enfield is state Rep. John Sellers, R-Grafton 18, whose multi-town floterial district includes Enfield.

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The estimated cost of the primary and special election is around $5,600, Morris said.

“We do believe that, as we manage the budget through the year, we will be able to find that with the funds that have already been allocated, so we’re not asking for anything extra at that time,” he said.

In a phone interview before the meeting, Barbara Jones, co-chairwoman of the Enfield Democratic Party, said that a couple of residents have expressed interest in Adjutant’s seat but that no one has committed to run yet. She added that the town party hopes to avoid a primary because they want someone seated as soon as possible.

“If we don’t have to have a primary election, the special election date moves to the primary date,” Morris said during the meeting.

The election comes as Republicans hold the majority in the House by a narrow margin, 201-196.

Adjutant, reached by phone on Tuesday, said his condition remains unchanged. He said he is “still not well.” He continues to experience headaches and emotional instability as a result of his injury. His prognosis is unclear. At least for now, he is unable to work.

Felix Onkundi Nyabuto, the 25-year-old psychiatric patient who is alleged to have assaulted Adjutant and one of his coworkers, has been charged with three counts of simple assault and second-degree assault, strangulation, according to the affidavit in the case.

Liz Sauchelli can be reached at esauchelli@vnews.com or 603-727-3221. Staff Writer Nora Doyle-Burr contributed to this report.

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