By Angeljean Chiaramida STAFF WRITER
Newburyport Daily News
---- — SEABROOK — None of New Hampshire’s candidates won an overwhelming endorsement from Seabrook voters yesterday.
But in an election with fiercely fought national and state races that had candidates sweating it out, voters turned out at an overwhelming rate, with about 78 percent — 4,380 voters in all — casting ballots.
In the neck-and-neck race for the White House, Republican Mitt Romney took 2,202 votes in Seabrook to President Barack Obama’s 2,026 votes.
And in the tight race for Granite State’s governor, Seabrook gave the nod to its former state senator — Exeter Democrat Maggie Hassan — who won with 2,108 votes, with her challenger, Manchester Republican Ovide Lamontagne, grabbing 1,792 votes.
By 9 p.m., Seabrook’s choice matched the statewide results, as the Associated Press declared Hassan the winner.
Republican Seabrook Selectman Aboul Khan, who ran unopposed for a state House seat, said he wasn’t surprised by Hassan’s win in Seabrook, even though more Republicans than Democrats are registered to vote in town.
“Maggie was very good to Seabrook when she was our senator,” Khan said. “Our Route 107 bridge is being widened right now and a lot of people know that wouldn’t be happening if not for the work Maggie did on Seabrook’s behalf.”
In the 1st U.S. Congressional District, challenger Carol Shea-Porter, a Rochester Democrat who previously held the seat, took Seabrook with a tally of 1,807 votes to incumbent Manchester Republican Frank Guinta’s 1,753 votes. Seabrook Selectman Brendan Kelly, a Libertarian candidate in the race, earned 412 votes.
In the race to be Seabrook’s next state senator in the newly drawn Senate District 24, incumbent Republican Sen. Nancy Stiles won in town with 2,006 votes to former state senator Beverly Hollingworth’s 1,811. Both women are from Hampton, the largest town in a sprawling district that spans from New Castle to Seabrook and Stratham to Newton. Final numbers on the race were not available at press time.
In the race for executive councilor, Seabrook gave incumbent Republican Christopher Sununu 2,042 votes to his Democratic challenger Bill Duncan’s 1,456 votes.
Three Seabrook Republicans ran unopposed for the three seats in the state House of Representative’s new District 20. Khan by far was the biggest vote-getter of the night, receiving 2,644 votes. Incumbents Amy Perkins and Koko Perkins earned 1,958 and 1,728 votes respectively.
Khan, who will keep his seat on the Board of Selectmen, thanked the voters who cast ballots for him.
“The support, enthusiasm and excitement I received today from the voters will motivate me to work tirelessly in the New Hampshire House of Representatives,” Khan said. “I hope to fulfill voters’ expectation and be a strong vote for Seabrook.”
In Rockingham District 37, which Seabrook shares with Hampton Falls and Hampton, Democrat Elaine Ahearn had a slim lead with 1,775 votes to Republican Sharleene Page Hurst’s 1,767 votes, with other towns not reporting by press time.
Another popular Seacoast resident won voter loyalty in town. Former Seabrook District Court Clerk John Clark took 2,117 votes to Michael Downing’s 1,571.
Political pundit Jeff Brown said the results in town indicated voters crossed party lines at the polls yesterday.
“Seabrook voters definitely voted for the person and not straight party tickets,” Brown said.
Seabrook’s list of registered voters had 5,128 on it when the day started, according to Town Clerk Bonnie Fowler, but that quickly changed.
“I’d say we had about 500 people register to vote today at the polls,” Supervisor of the Voter Checklist Gary Fowler said.
Of those who registered, some were re-registering to vote after being dropped from the list last year because they had been inactive voters, he said.
Others like 19-year-old Charles Henry Felch IV were voting in their first presidential election.
“I’m voting today because I think the country needs a change,” Felch said. “I think Mr. Romney needs to get in.”
Town Moderator Paul Kelley said he’d never seen such an enormous turnout. Long lines started the day and a constant stream continued for the rest of it, he said.
“There was never a lull in voting, like we usually get around 10 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon,” Kelley said. “I’ve never seen anything like this. The turnout was remarkable.”