Woman Nominated for N.H. Governor, Governor To Run for Senate
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) _ State Rep. Deborah Arnie Arnesen won a three-way Democratic gubernatorial primary Tuesday in a state that has never elected a woman to statewide office or Congress.
Gov. Judd Gregg won the Republican primary for the seat held by retiring U.S. Sen. Warren Rudman and will face Democratic primary winner John Rauh in November.
Arneson called for a new state income tax to help hold down property taxes, while running against a Democratic U.S. House veteran who said an improving economy and more federal aid would make the tax unnecessary. She will face former state Attorney General Steve Merrill, an income-tax foe who handily defeated four opponents in the Republican primary.
In U.S. House races, first-term Rep. Bill Zeliff had some tense moments before late results showed him defeating Ovide Lamontagne in a three-way race Republican primary, while another first-term incumbent, Dick Swett, easily won the Democratic primary.
″Let’s face it, this is a tough race, with this anti-incumbent sentiment,″ Zeliff said after his victory speech.
Gregg stressed his fiscal conservativism and experience as a four-term congressman and two-term governor.
With 62 percent of the precincts reporting, Gregg had 32,646 votes, or 51 percent, to Hal Eckman’s 23,805 votes, or 37 percent.
Eckman, a millionaire developer, had campaigned as a political outsider, saying Congress needs more businessmen and fewer career politicians like Gregg. He also contrasted his support for abortion rights with Gregg’s opposition.
Rauh, another millionaire businessman, easily finished first among five candidates in the Democratic primary. Rauh also stressed his business know- how, as well as his support for abortion rights.
With 62 percent of precincts reporting, Rauh had 24,852 votes, or 52 percent, to 9,653 votes, or 20 percent, for Brenda Elias, his nearest opponent.
With 66 percent of precincts reporting in the 1st congressional district, Zeliff had 15,082 votes, or 49 percent; Lamontagne had 12,208 or 39 percent. Swett won the 2nd district Democratic primary with 18,279 votes, or 65 percent, to 10,043 or 35 percent for Emily Northrop, with 69 percent of the precincts reporting.
In the race for governor, Arnesen had 24,893 votes, or 50 percent, to 14,142, or 28 percent, for former five-term U.S. Rep. Norm D’Amours, with 60 percent of precincts reporting. Former state human services chief Ned Helms had 11,060 votes, or 22 percent.
In the GOP gubernatorial primary, with 61 percent of the precincts reporting, Merrill had 34,883 votes, or 55 percent. His nearest challenger, state Rep. Elizabeth Hager, had 14,148 votes, or 22 percent. State Senate President Ed Dupont was third with 12,888 votes, or 20 percent.
Merrill and Dupont opposed a state income tax during the campaign, while Hager supported one.
Merrill and Dupont said better management and paring the state bureaucracy would avoid the need for an income tax.
Hager also stood out as a long-time abortion rights activist. Merrill is anti-abortion; Dupont would generally ban it after the first three months.