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Deep red pro-Trump town casts deciding votes to flip yet another seat blue in New Hampshire

The nomination of Roy Moore for Senate in Alabama, in the face of all of Donald Trump’s attempts to sway the race against him, was not the only electoral embarrassment suffered by the GOP on Tuesday night. Democrats picked up two more seats in state legislative elections, both women — bringing the total of state-level […]

By Matthew Chapman - September 27, 2017
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Kari Lerner poses with her hero, New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen
Kari Lerner poses with her hero, New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen

The nomination of Roy Moore for Senate in Alabama, in the face of all of Donald Trump’s attempts to sway the race against him, was not the only electoral embarrassment suffered by the GOP on Tuesday night.

Democrats picked up two more seats in state legislative elections, both women — bringing the total of state-level red-to-blue flips under Trump to eight.

The first win of the night was in Florida, where Colombian-American progressive activist Annette Taddeo flipped the 40th state Senate district. She is the first Democratic Latina to be elected to the Florida state Senate.

But in some ways, the second Democratic victory of the night — for New Hampshire’s Rockingham County House District 4 — was more surprising. Not only do registered Republicans outnumber Democrats 2 to 1 in this district, but the most conservative town in the district cast the deciding votes.

Democratic candidate Kari Lerner and Republican James Headd were running close right up until the last precinct, in Sandown. The numbers made it look as though Headd would win.

Amazingly, however, Sandown went for Lerner, winning the race for Democrats.

Lerner, a former schoolteacher and real estate associate, had won the endorsement of local labor unions. She campaigned on increasing state funding to local districts.

Headd, a former state representative and insurance executive, ran on legislation to ban unions from asking for security agreements from employers. Republicans in New Hampshire tried and failed to pass such a law earlier this year.

Democrats have now won four out of six New Hampshire special elections since November, including the first victory in a state Senate special election since the 1980s.

Every month, state special elections continue to bring good news for Democrats, and these victories, combined with record candidate recruitment and a wave of Republican retirements, offer encouraging signs about the strength of the party going into next year’s midterms.

As Democrats continue to build the bench, the path to stopping Trump and enacting a positive agenda to help all Americans grows ever clearer — and Lerner’s triumph in a deeply red town is yet more validation.


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