Primary Source: College Towns in Grafton County Helped Lift Clinton in N.H.

  • Valley News political columnist and news editor John Gregg in West Lebanon, N.H., on September 20, 2016. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to Geoff Hansen

Published: 11/9/2016 11:23:40 PM
Modified: 11/10/2016 4:29:59 PM

Hillary Clinton wound up winning New Hampshire over Donald Trump by just 1,437 votes, or 47.5 percent to 47.3 percent, and, for what it’s worth at this point, she can thank Grafton County for a big assist.

That includes the college towns of Plymouth and Hanover.

Clinton scored especially well in Grafton County, winning almost 57 percent of the vote there to 37.9 percent for Trump, while losing Sullivan County, where Trump had 48.8 percent of the vote, 2.5 percentage points ahead of Clinton.

Trump won the Upper Valley towns of Haverhill, Grafton, Orange, Dorchester, Croydon, Sunapee, Newport, Claremont, Unity, Charlestown, and Springfield, N.H.

Clinton racked up big wins in the Lebanon-Hanover area, winning those two Democratic towns with 11,459 votes, to just 2,767 for Trump. She also won Plymouth, home to Plymouth State University, 56 percent to 37 percent, besting Trump by about 1,700 votes there.

Hundreds of Dartmouth students Wednesday evening protested Trump’s victory, but his supporters made clear with their votes they felt it was time for establishment politicians to give way. Steve Walker, the Charlestown chairman for the Trump campaign, held signs for his candidate outside the polls on Tuesday and said he was glad to have an outsider running.

“I am not a fan of career politicians, and I’ve wanted a business person to run our country so we’re not mired in debt,” Walker, an engineer, said.

In Vermont, Clinton won 56.2 percent, to just 30 percent for Trump, and she won most of the Upper Valley handily. A handful of towns near Topsham and Barre backed Trump, and he won a swath of the Northeast Kingdom and several towns in Rutland County.

The only town in Windsor County to back Trump was tiny Baltimore, 60-50.

There were some Bernie Sanders voters who also backed Trump, and the Vermont senator Wednesday evening released a statement about the president-elect, saying Trump had “tapped into the anger of a declining middle class that is sick and tired of establishment economics, establishment politics and the establishment media.”

“To the degree that Mr. Trump is serious about pursuing policies that improve the lives of working families in this country, I and other progressives are prepared to work with him,” Sanders said. “To the degree that he pursues racist, sexist, xenophobic and anti-environment policies, we will vigorously oppose him.”

Blue Delegation, Red Statehouse

With victories by Republican Gov.-elect Chris Sununu and Democratic Sen.-elect Maggie Hassan and former Democratic U.S. Rep. Carol Shea Porter, the Granite State delegation and Statehouse are going to be divided.

The Washington delegation will be all female and all Democratic — Hassan, Shea Porter, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster.

But Republicans will control the governor’s office, the New Hampshire House and Senate, and the Executive Council for the first time in years.

Among those who fell short is New London Democrat John Garvey, who lost a bid for the open Senate District 8 seat in the Newport area to Stoddard Republican Ruth Ward.

“We ran a positive race about the issues and the voters made their choice. I learned a lot, met many wonderful people, and made a lot of new friends. District 8 is a beautiful area and it was a joy to travel to all 24 towns. While disappointed in the outcome I am richer for the experience. Congratulations to Ruth Ward on her victory,” Garvey said in an email Wednesday morning.

Republican redistricting after the 2010 census made a major difference in thwarting Democratic efforts to retake the New Hampshire Senate, with Garvey’s defeat a prime example.

Orange House Races

There were a couple of surprises in Vermont House races in Orange County.

With all the votes in, state Rep. Rodney Graham, R-Williamstown and fellow Republican Bob Frenier, of Chelsea, appear to have won the two-seat, six-town Orange 1 district that includes Vershire, Chelsea and Corinth.

Graham had 2,013 votes, Frenier 1,851, outpacing longtime state Rep. Susan Hatch Davis, P-Washington, by 9 votes. She had 1,842, and fellow Progressive Adam DesLauriers had 1,010.

And in the two-seat Orange-Washington-Addison district in the Randolph area, two young first-time candidates from Brookfield swept into office. Independent Ben Jickling, 22, topped the field with 24.6 percent of the vote, followed by Democrat Jay Hooper, 23, with 22.1 percent. They defeated longtime state Rep. Patsy French, D-Randolph, who had 19.7 percent, and Randolph Republican Bob Orleck, with 16.7 percent.

“The level of support I got was encouraging. I worked hard, knocked on around 7,500 doors and met everyone I could. As an Independent, many voters wanted a chance to figure out my platform and ask questions and in rural Vermont, canvassing is about the only way to do that,” Jickling said via email.


John P. Gregg can be reached at

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West Lebanon, NH 03784


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