Message from future voters

Parents and students arriving at Franklin Elementary School in Keene Wednesday morning pass hand-written signs encouraging people to vote. A 5th-grade class at the school made the signs and hung them outside for Election Day Tuesday.

Results from a handful of close elections continued to trickle in Wednesday, confirming the winners in an Executive Council race, two state Senate contests and a handful of House races involving Monadnock Region communities.

Democrats secured a 3-2 majority on the Executive Council by winning District 5, which includes the eastern part of the Monadnock Region. Republicans had held the majority prior to Tuesday’s elections.

Meanwhile, final results came out for a pair of state Senate districts covering local towns. The races had not been decided as of press time Wednesday morning. One district flipped to Democrats, while the other stayed in Republican hands, and in the end Democrats had a new 14-10 majority in the N.H. Senate.

Statewide, Democrats also claimed the N.H. House, with N.H. Public Radio and WMUR reporting that the political party could have a majority by 60 seats.

Two recounts in local House races are also a possibility.

Pignatelli unseats GOP incumbent

The N.H. Secretary of State’s Office confirmed Wednesday that Debora B. Pignatelli, a Nashua Democrat, beat incumbent Republican David K. Wheeler of Milford in Executive Council District 5 by about 4,400 votes.

The district includes the southeastern part of Cheshire County, along with the area towns of Antrim, Bennington, Greenfield and Peterborough.

As of Wednesday morning, Pignatelli appeared likely to win, holding a several-thousand-vote lead with 87 percent of precincts reporting. The results released later in the day confirmed her win, 55,438 to 51,012.

Pignatelli previously represented the district from 2005 to 2011 and 2013 to 2015.

Parties split seats

in Senate races

Brookline Democrat Melanie Levesque’s narrow win in District 12 — which includes Rindge — was one of her party’s pickups in the state Senate.

Numbers released Wednesday by the Secretary of State’s Office showed Levesque prevailed over two-term Sen. Kevin Avard, R-Nashua, by a tight 169-vote margin, 12,553 to 12,384. The difference amounted to two-thirds of 1 percent of all ballots cast.

A former three-term state representative, Levesque is president of a communications consulting company and serves on the Hollis-Brookline Cooperative School Board.

Meanwhile, in another Senate district that covers part of the region, a Republican hung on to win her second term. Sen. Ruth Ward, R-Stoddard, beat challenger Jenn Alford-Teaster, a Sutton Democrat, by 862 votes.

District 8 includes the area towns of Acworth, Antrim, Bennington, Langdon, Marlow and Stoddard.

Ward declared victory Wednesday morning, when every town in the district but one had reported results, and vote tallies released later confirmed her win, 13,074 to 12,212.

Final tallies were also released in District 9, another local Senate district that flipped from Republican to Democrat. Jeanne Dietsch, D-Peterborough, totaled 14,037 votes to Bedford Republican Dan Hynes’ 12,776. The district includes Dublin, Fitzwilliam, Greenfield, Hancock, Jaffrey, Peterborough, Richmond and Troy.

Recounts in

House races

Three local House races that did not have final results Wednesday morning have also been decided.

In Cheshire District 3, longtime state Rep. Daniel A. Eaton, D-Stoddard, won another term, besting Republican challenger Robert D’Arcy of Stoddard, 916-690. The district covers Gilsum, Nelson, Stoddard and Sullivan.

Another incumbent, state Rep. Steve Smith, R-Charlestown, also kept his seat, winning 2,057 to 1,703 over Democratic challenger Bruce L. Cragin of Lempster in Sullivan District 11. Smith will continue to represent Acworth, Charlestown, Goshen, Langdon, Lempster and Washington.

And in the race for an open seat in Sullivan District 7, covering Acworth, Goshen, Langdon, Lempster and Washington, Republican Judy Aron of Acworth bested Democrat Claudia Y. Istel, also of Acworth, by a 1,122 to 990 margin.

Meanwhile, two of the closest House results in the region don’t seem to be over yet, with possible recounts in the works.

Voters in Cheshire District 12 — covering Richmond and Swanzey — elected two Democratic state representatives Tuesday, Jennie Gomarlo, D-Swanzey, and incumbent Barry Faulkner, D-Swanzey. Incumbent James W. McConnell, R-Swanzey, came in third by just 21 votes.

McConnell said he plans to formally request a recount Thursday with the N.H. Secretary of State’s Office.

“I have an obligation to my supporters to do everything I can to get elected, and I’ve been trying to do that,” he said, noting that the 21-vote difference is a fraction of a percent. McConnell won 1,518 votes, compared to 1,539 for Faulkner, the next-highest vote-getter.

The two have faced a recount before, McConnell said. In 2014, he and Faulkner tied, before a recount put McConnell three votes ahead.

“That’s why they called me ‘Landslide’ my first two years,” McConnell joked.

In Sullivan House District 8, which covers Charlestown, Democrat John W. Streeter also said he will seek a recount after losing by 10 votes to incumbent Rep. Tom Laware, a Republican.

Candidates have until Friday at 5 p.m. to request a recount, after which the Secretary of State’s Office will publish a list of recounts that need to be done.

Paul Cuno-Booth can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1409, or pbooth@keenesentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @PCunoBoothKS.