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Migliore, Adjutant Win Dist. 9 Primary

By Thomas P. Caldwell

The special primary election on July 18 has sent Republican Vincent Paul Migliore of Bridgewater, Democrat Joshua Adjutant of Bristol, and Libertarian John Babiarz of Grafton on to the Sept. 5 general election, seeking to fill a vacancy as representative for Grafton County District 9.

While Migliore’s 243-86 victory over second-place Paul Simard of Bristol was notable in the Republican race, Adjutant’s 204-32 victory over Tom Ploszaj of Grafton in the Democratic race was especially significant, since Adjutant was not even on the ballot.

As a write-in candidate, Adjutant said, “A lot of it was getting out and talking to the voters, having communications and conversation with people, even those who disagree with you. A lot of people saw that we were invested in this contest and gave us their support.”

He noted, “One gentleman in Grafton said he was concerned about how we were going to do, and worried that a write-in vote would be a wasted vote, but our win showed that nothing is impossible if you work for it. We had more primary votes in Grafton than in the contested Republican primary, and we’re ready to move forward.”

Only 621 residents in the five-town district cast ballots, confirming predictions of a low turnout for the election. Bristol recorded the greatest number of ballots, with 197, while Bridgewater had 130, Alexandria 125, Ashland 86, and Grafton 83.

In the Republican race, Migliore garnered 243 Republican votes and also received 6 write-ins on the Democratic ballot. Simard had 86 Republican votes and 4 write-ins, while Timothy Sweetsir of Ashland had 28 votes. Burton Williams of Bristol, who had withdrawn from the race, still received one vote.

Broken down by town, Migliore received 79 votes in Bridgewater, with two Democratic write-ins; 69 in Bristol, with three write-ins; 59 in Alexandria, with one write-in; 23 in Ashland; and 13 in Grafton.

Simard received 53 votes from Bristol, with one write-in; 12 from Alexandria; nine from Grafton; seven from Bridgewater, with three write-ins; and five from Ashland.

Sweetsir had 11 from Ashland; seven from Alexandria; five from Bristol; three from Grafton; and two from Bridgewater.

Migliore said after his primary win, ”I’m really proud to have almost 40 percent of the total vote of the election, especially where there were six on the ballot. I got 66 percent of the Republican votes cast. And I’m especially proud of the fact that I got 200 percent more Democratic write-ins than Joshua got in Republican write-ins.

“I’m really glad to have won all five towns, which is another way to look at the data.”

Migliore continued, “I have the conservatives’ support, but also bipartisan support to do something for the entire region. I look forward to the full support of the GOP and reasonable, non-resistant Democrats who understand it will take a bipartisan approach to issues, not a dogmatic approach where it’s their way or the highway. I am far more pragmatic and practical in my approach to things.”

He said he would like to become part of the GOP leadership team, “to lend an open-minded level of experience to that group,” and said he always makes “a 140-percent effort so I can be happy with 90-percent results.”

Migliore said he received a gracious concession call from Sweetsir, almost immediately after the results were in.

Sweetsir commented, “I would like to thank the voters of District 9 and congratulate Vincent Paul Migliore on his victory and pledge my support to him in his bid for the NH House.”

Simard said of the election, “It was a very low turnout, and I’m going to support the Republican candidate.”

He added of the results, “It’s going to make my wife happy.”

Ploszaj was the only candidate on the Democratic ballot but his 32 votes were eclipsed by write-ins for Adjutant, who received 204, plus two Bristol write-ins from Republicans.

Adjutant, who had received an endorsement from the state employees’ union, received 50 Democratic votes in Bristol; 43 in Ashland; 40 each in Alexandria and Grafton; and 31 in Bridgewater.

Ploszaj received 12 votes in Bristol; eight in Grafton; six in Bridgewater; four in Alexandria; and two in Ashland.

"The Republican and Democratic voters who cast their ballots made a clear choice," Ploszaj said. "I look forward to the chance to hear three candidates in debate and expound upon their ideas of how they will plan to represent Grafton 9 now that, after 20 years, there are three major parties hopefully presenting more facts and reality than the political rhetoric and emotional swaying we had in the past.

"At the polls, I met the candidates and their helpers. I had come away with the impression that they wish to represent the people of the district, which was my campaign since 2010. We will see," he said.

On the Libertarian ballot, John Babiarz received five votes in Grafton and one in Bristol on an uncontested ballot.

The 43-vote difference between Migliore and Adjutant in the primary, where Adjutant had to overcome the handicap of not being on the ballot, shows it could be a close general election on Sept. 5.

Adjutant started fundraising for his campaign the day after Bridgewater Republican Jeff Shackett resigned from his seat in the House, and before any of the towns had considered calling for a special election to fill the vacancy. He has not filed any spending reports with the state, but candidates are not required to do so unless they spend $500 or more, and their names are on the ballot.

Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan said that, now Adjutant’s name is on the ballot for the general election, he will be obligated to file spending reports.

“We did order $200 worth of signs,” Adjutant said in a telephone interview, “and we’ll be preparing our SEC paperwork soon, and will file it on schedule.”

Migliore filed spending reports on June 28 and July 12, listing total expenditures of $716.95. Simard is the only other candidate to file a report, listing $50 in expenditures on the June 28 form.

“I couldn’t justify spending a lot of money on that campaign,” Simard said. “Whether it should have taken place is something else.”

Each of the five towns in the district initially voted not to seek a special election, citing the expense and the fact that, by time someone is seated, the major work of the legislative session will have been completed. Ashland selectmen later reconsidered their decision and decided to petition the governor and Executive Council to hold the special election.

Adjutant said winning the primary was a group effort.

“I’m one voter, and I did not do it alone. I’m extremely grateful for those who turned out to support me and give me a mandate for Sept. 5.”

Addressing the state employees’ union endorsement, Adjutant said he is not a voting member of the endorsement committee and did not have a role in the union’s choice.

“They contacted us, and saw we were the right candidate, and they saw Tom Ploszaj as part of the Free State Project,” he said.

“There are going to be people who are not going to agree with me 100 percent of the time,” Adjutant said. “We heard from a Trump supporter who voted for Trump and myself. He said when he read one of the early articles about the election, and heard people talk about how young I was and not tested, and then read what I said, I was talking about real issues, and he said, ‘You’re going to be the one who cares.’

“We had a lot of support last night, and will continue to build moving forward,” Adjutant said. “I want to thank the 200 people who got out and supported us.”

“Unlike others who may modify their postures once they get elected, I’m not afraid to lose an election by sticking to my principles,” said Migliore.

19 July 2017 • An abridged version of this story appears in the Laconia Daily Sun

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