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Record turnout for Durham State Primaries


In a record turnout, voters both went to the polls and mailed their no-excuse absentee ballots for the count in the state’s primary election.  

Durham, N.H., home to the University of New Hampshire (UNH), experienced a historic turnout of over 2672 individual votes cast on the Sept. 8 primary. Democrats cast 2233 ballots and Republicans cast 439 total ballots.  

In contrast, on Sept. 11, 2018 primary, Durham residents cast 2358 votes over the course of a day.  

That number exceeds the voting averages between 2008 and 2016, with an average of only 1,137 ballots cast during the primaries.  

Durham faced a mechanical error with one of its ballot boxes, which failed to separate ballots with write-ins from ballots without write-in candidates. This caused a reporting delay, which was rectified within approximately an hour. Even with the minor mechanical error, Durham Town Administrator Todd Selig was pleased with the record turnout.  

“This year, we appear on target to once again break Durham’s state primary record,” Selig said in a press release. “With approximately 1,640 absentee ballots in hand and more than 800 in-person votes by early evening, 2020 will once again be a year for the record books.” 

The Town of Durham released the preliminary results at midnight on Wednesday, Sept. 9.  

In the Democratic Gubernatorial primary, Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky claimed a comfortable victory of 1391 votes, with State Senate Majority leader Dan Feltes receiving 716 votes in the town of Durham. Statewide, Dan Feltes was declared the winner and Volinsky has conceded.  

Incumbent Republican Gov. Chris Sununu won 92% of the ballots cast for the Republican Gubernatorial primary. 

For the United States Senate race, incumbent Democrat Jeanne Shaheen swept the field with over 90% of the ballots cast in her favor.  

In a tight race, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Corky Messner claimed a narrow victory to Don Bolduc. Messner received 189 votes compared to Bolduc’s 176 in the town of Durham. Messner is slated to challenge Shaheen in the Nov. 3 general election.  

Incumbent Rep. Chris Pappas ran uncontested in the Democratic primary for U.S. House District 1, and amassed 2087 votes in the D in the town of Durham.  

Republican Matt Mowers will move on to challenge  Pappas in the November 3rd General Election, with Mowers receiving 53% of ballots cast.  

Republican Stuart Levenson won the Republican ballot in Durham for the Executive Council. Statewide, the race remains contested, with Jim Beard leading.  

Democrats Leah Plunkett and Cinde Warmington remain in a contested race for the Democratic nomination for Executive Council. In Durham, Plunkett was declared the winner with 773 votes to Warmington’s 612 votes.  

Rebecca Perkins Kwoka won the Democratic Durham State Senate race comfortably with two-thirds of ballots cast.  

The Republican challenger, Sue Polidura, ran uncontested.  

Durham and Madbury are represented by five state representatives, of which six ran for the nomination on the Democratic side. As of writing this article, Madbury had not reported their results. However, Marjorie Smith, Judith Spang, Janet G. Wall, Timothy Horrigan, and Cam Kenney received the plurality of votes from Democratic voters.  

They will move on to challenge Bonnie McDermot, Cliff Zetterstrom, Cheryl A. Lamoureux, Mark F. Racic, and James C. Ziegra for the New Hampshire House of Representatives seats.  

Democrat Mark Brave and Republican Paul Callaghan won their respective primary races for county sheriff in Durham.  

On both ballots, local positions such as County Attorney, Treasurer, Register of Deeds, Register of Probate and County Commissioners remained uncontested.   

With over 90% of ballots reported in New Hampshire, victors now looking to begin revving up their campaign for the Nov. 3 general election. As for Durham, the town is seeking volunteers for the upcoming general election. If you are interested in volunteering with the Town of Durham for the Nov. 3 election, contact Town Clerk Lorrie Pitt at (603) 868-5577.  

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