SEABROOK — Two political newcomers — Republican Kevin Janvrin of Seabrook and Democrat Ryan Mahoney of South Hampton — will face off against Libertarian Brendan Kelly in the Sept. 6 final election to fill a vacant House seat in Rockingham District 14.
Voters in Seabrook, Hampton Falls, Kensington and South Hampton yesterday picked Janvrin and Mahoney in the special primary election to replace former state Rep. Gary Wheaton, R-Seabrook, who resigned in April after only four months in office following two run-ins with the law.
Janvrin and Mahoney both faced opponents who had previously spent time as members of New Hampshire's House of Representatives, but they won with comfortable margins over their nearest competitors.
Janvrin, a Seabrook firefighter, took 315 of the 438 Republican votes cast in his hometown, and amassed a total of 436 votes overall. His closest competitor, Lou Gargiulo of Hampton Falls, who previously served two terms in the House representing Stratham, earned a total of 318 votes, getting a big bump from his home town — 145 votes — and a respectable 111 votes from Seabrook Republicans.
Janvrin said he was excited about the upcoming race and will work hard to earn voters' trust in the final election.
Meanwhile, South Hampton pushed its hometown candidate to a win as the Democratic candidate. Mahoney, a consultant, garnered 54 votes in South Hampton, with a 157-vote tally overall. Former state Rep. Mark Preston of Seabrook, who come out of political retirement to run as a Democratic candidate, grabbed 63 votes, most from Seabrook.
Mahoney, the youngest in the race at 29, stood at the polls in Seabrook all day, earning more than half of the Democratic votes cast there.
"I think it's great that Ryan won; he went out there and really worked for it," Preston said last night. "I support him, and I'll work for him in the upcoming election."
Less than 10 percent of Seabrook's 6,000-plus registered voters went to the polls yesterday, with 550 ballots cast.
Although Hampton Falls recorded a small turnout as well, with 260 of the town's 1,561 voters casting ballots, Assistant Town Moderator Bobbie Burns said the turnout was more than expected.
Wheaton resigned his seat after Hampton police brought charges against him related to speeding and driving after license suspension. The case is set for trial at Hampton District Court later this month.
The former state representative lost his license after pleading guilty to reckless driving in a plea agreement with Londonderry, N.H. The plea agreement stemmed from a charge of driving while intoxicated filed against him last September.
After initially saying he had no intention of running in the special election, Wheaton said he learned after his arrest on April 5 that his license had been reinstated on March 29 and therefore decided to try to win back his seat.
He drew only 16 votes yesterday. And as of one minute before polls closed in Seabrook, he himself had not cast a ballot.