Historically Red Wolfeboro, N.H., Elects Democrat To Statehouse In Special Election

May 24, 2017

Wolfeboro, a historically very red town in central New Hampshire, broke for Donald Trump in November's presidential election. But despite being a traditionally conservative town, a Democrat came out on top in a special election held this week.

Democrat Edith DesMarais defeated Republican Matthew Plache for a seat in the statehouse previously occupied by Republican Harold Parker (who gave up his seat to join Gov. Chris Sununu’s administration).

With special elections across the country under the microscope, VPR was curious: Are the results of Wolfeboro's special election this week a fluke or a political weather vane?

Chris Galderi is an assistant professor in the department of politics at St. Anslem College. He says voter turnout in Wolfeboro, where Republicans outnumber Democrats in voter registration two to one, was low overall.

“Very few Republicans turned out based on the vote, whereas a lot of Democrats turned out,” Galderi told VPR on Wednesday. “So looking at that, I think you might actually be seeing that there's just more Democratic enthusiasm and Democrats are willing to show up and turnout and vote, even for a special election for the state legislature, in a way Republicans aren't this year."

Meanwhile, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has been in Montana campaign for the democratic candidate for the U.S. House. The special election in that race will take place on Thursday, May 25.