Battle for NH House heads to at least 16 recounts next week

Nov. 11—CONCORD — The battle over which party controls the New Hampshire House of Representatives shifts to the State Archives Building here Monday to begin recounting at least 16 close races.

Due to the Veterans Day holiday, Secretary of State David Scanlan said losing candidates get an extra day to request recounts until Monday by 5 p.m.

After Tuesday's midterm election, Republicans maintained the majority, but by only a 203-197 margin.

Democrats won 19 seats held by Republicans thanks in part to a political action committee that spent a record $1.6 million.

For Democrats to seize power with these recounts, they would have to win a net of four seats over the GOP.

Among those requested so far, Republican candidates won eight of the races on Tuesday over Democrats, Democrats won six over Republicans and the other two recounts are between hopefuls of the same party.

Fewer than 10 votes decided half of these requested recounts.

In those races, Republicans won four, Democrats won two and the other two are between candidates of the same party.

The closest recount requested thus far is in Rochester's Ward 4 where eight-term state Rep. Chuck Grassie, a Democrat, lost by a single vote to Republican challenger David Walker.

State law permits any candidate that loses by up to 20% of the vote to request a recount.

So far, five House incumbents — three Republicans and two Democrats — appealed their losses to a recount

The fee to recount a state representative race is $10 when the difference in votes is less than 1%.

The fee goes up to $20 or $40 if the difference in votes is less than 2% or 3%, respectively.

Anyone challenging a race with a bigger vote margin than 3% has to pay the entire taxpayer cost to complete the recount.

klandrigan@unionleader.com