Voting rights champion flips 5th New Hampshire seat blue


It's the 38th legislative flip since Trump took office.

Democrats have enjoyed numerous special election victories in the Trump era, several of which have come from right-leaning towns in New Hampshire.

And on Tuesday night, Democrats scored another big win in Belknap County House District 3.

Democratic candidate Phil Spagnuolo, a recovery coach and cofounder of an addiction social services center in Laconia, triumphed over Republican Les Cartier.

Spagnuolo is a voting rights champion who ran on a platform of fighting the opioid crisis, as well as improving education and job training.

"I believe that I bring a unique perspective because of the work I do and because of my own struggles in my own life," he said on the campaign trail.

The win marks the 38th time a seat has flipped red to blue nationwide, and the fifth time just in New Hampshire, since Trump's election.

Last May, Edith DesMarais pulled off an upset in Carroll County District 6. In September, Charlie St. Clair was elected to Belknap County District 9, and Kari Lerner took Rockingham County District 4. And two months later, Erika Connors won Hillsborough County District 15.

The latest win in the Belknap seat, vacated by the death of state Rep. Donald Flanders, was not guaranteed. In fact, Trump carried the county by 17 points. But Spagnuolo won not only because of public anger at Trump, but because his background and message resonated with voters in a state hit hard by drug abuse.

What is happening in New Hampshire, and nationwide, would not be possible without a strong bench of local candidates who are taking a stand for their communities. And voters are rewarding them for it.