New Hampshire Democrat Hal Rafter scored a major pickup for his party on Tuesday by flipping a swingy seat in a special election for the state House, a triumph that puts Democrats one seat away from erasing the GOP’s majority in the chamber.
Rafter beat Republican Jim Guzofski 56-44 to flip Rockingham County’s 1st District, a constituency that favored Donald Trump by a tiny 49.1 to 48.7 margin in 2020. The seat became vacant in April when Republican Rep. Brian Bartlett resigned, citing health issues.
Rafter’s win leaves Republicans with a bare 198-197 edge despite a map that they gerrymandered for their own benefit just last year. The enormous 400-member also includes a pair of independents and, importantly, three other vacant seats. Two of those vacancies occurred this very week: Democrat Bill Hatch announced his departure Monday, while Republican Troy Merner resigned the next day, just hours before Rafter’s victory.
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