Dem Hassan, GOP's Lamontagne win NH gov primaries
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Democrat Maggie Hassan and Republican Ovide Lamontagne won their primaries Tuesday and will compete in November to replace Democratic Gov. John Lynch, whose retirement leaves the seat open for the first time in 10 years.
With about 78 percent of the vote reported, unofficial results in the Democratic contest late Tuesday showed Hassan, an attorney, with about 55 percent of the vote to 37 percent for business professor Jackie Cilley. Lamontagne, also an attorney, easily won the Republican contest with about 68 percent of the vote to 30 percent for consultant Kevin Smith.
New Hampshire is considered a swing state, though it veered conservative in the 2010 election, and both major parties feel they have a good shot at the office.
Lamontagne said in his victory speech that Hassan and Cilley, both former state senators, had ‘‘big government records.’’
‘‘Let us reject this record of failure and choose a future of prosperity, growth and opportunity,’’ he said. ‘‘My prosperity agenda is based on fiscal responsibility, limited government and an environment in which job creators and entrepreneurs flourish.’’
This is Lamontagne’s second try for the governor’s office. He lost to Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, now a U.S. senator, in 1996. He also ran unsuccessful campaigns for Congress in 1992 and U.S. Senate in 2010.
Hassan said in her victory speech that Lamontagne is too conservative for New Hampshire. She pointed to his opposition to abortion, union rights and gay marriage. She supports gay marriage and abortion rights.
‘‘Ovide Lamontagne, the self-proclaimed tea party favorite, will move our state backwards with divisive policies,’’ she said.
One key difference between the two Democrats in the primary was Cilley’s refusal to take New Hampshire’s traditional pledge to veto personal income and general sales taxes. The state has neither. Hassan took the pledge and said government can be adequately funded without either tax.
Nancy Barlett, of Concord, voted for Hassan, mostly because she thinks Hassan has a better chance at winning the general election.
‘‘I like Jackie Cilley very much because she didn’t take the pledge, but I don’t think she can win with that,’’ she said.
Cilley generated some buzz with an ad that portrayed candidates who take the pledge as zombies, but it ultimately wasn’t enough to propel her past Hassan.
Both Republicans pledged not only to veto income and personal property taxes but also to cut business taxes and pay for them by cutting spending. Both said they would support repealing the state’s gay marriage law and replacing it with civil unions.
Skip Nolin of Sunapee voted for Lamontagne.
‘‘He knows the state very well and knows what needs to be done,’’ he said. ‘‘I could live with Smith, too. Their level of integrity really stands out to me.’’
Secretary of State Bill Gardner estimated that 168,000 voters, or about 16 percent, would cast ballots in Tuesday’s primary.
There were less well-known candidates in both primaries — unemployed store manager Robert Tarr on the GOP side and inn owner Bill Kennedy on the Democratic side.
Associated Press reporter Lynne Tuohy contributed to this story from Sunapee and Associated Press reporter Holly Ramer contributed to this story from Concord.