State Watch

New Hampshire Democrat wins GOP-held state House seat

A former town councilor in Bedford narrowly won a seat in the New Hampshire state House on Tuesday, the first Democrat to win a previously Republican-held legislative district in any state since President Biden took office.

Election results showed Catherine Rombeau (D) narrowly edged out former state Rep. Linda Rea Camarota (R) in the race to replace the late state Rep. David Danielson (R), who died in May. Rombeau won election by just a 37-vote margin, out of about 4,600 votes cast.

Rombeau will be one of six legislators representing her Hillsborough County district, only two of whom are Democrats. 

Now-Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) easily carried the district in his 2012 presidential contest, by a wide 23-point margin. Former President Trump beat Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the Bedford-area seat by 7 points in the 2016 presidential election, but Biden won the seat in 2016 by just over 3 percentage points.

There are 400 seats in the New Hampshire state House of Representatives, the largest legislative body in America outside of the U.S. House. But both Rombeau and Camarota attracted big outside spending, from groups like the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, for Rombeau, and the New Hampshire chapter of Americans for Prosperity, for Camarota.

Republicans control the state House, one of only two legislative chambers that flipped party control in the 2020 elections. But their margin is a narrow eight seats, and New Hampshire legislative districts are small enough that even tiny vote swings are enough to change which side holds the gavels.

Camarota is expected to ask for a recount, given the narrow margin.

The race is only the second special legislative election this year in which a party has won control of what had previously been the other side’s seat. Republican Ryan Fazio won a seat in the Connecticut state Senate last month that had previously been held by a Democratic incumbent.

Tags Catherine Rombeau Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Joe Biden Linda Rea Camarota Mitt Romney New Hampshire

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