Republican Gov. Chris Sununu had a friendly Executive Council during his first two years in office, but things have been far different since Democrats took control after the 2018 elections. Sununu nominated state Attorney General Gordon MacDonald to be chief justice of the state Supreme Court last year, but the Executive Council rejected that appointment along party lines after Democrats argued that MacDonald was too ideological for the job. Last month, the three Democrats also voted down other Sununu nominees for state posts.
While Democrats hold a majority now, the Executive Council district map is not friendly for Team Blue. The Republican legislature gerrymandered the body in 2012, and Donald Trump carried three of the five seats in 2016 even as he lost narrowly to Hillary Clinton 47.6-47.2. Last cycle, Sununu took four districts while he was defeating Democrat Molly Kelly 53-46.
We’ll start with a look at District 1. This seat, which includes the northern most part of the state, supported Clinton 48-47, while Sununu took it 52-47 two years later. Despite Sununu’s victory here, though, Democrat Michael Cryans, who had lost three competitive races here over the past few years, unseated Republican incumbent Joe Kenney 51-47. Kenney, who was Team Red’s nominee for governor back in 2008, is running to regain the seat this year.
Just to the south is District 2, which is home to the state capital of Concord and party of the Seacoast region, and is easily the most Democratic of the five seats at 52-42 Clinton and 52-46 Kelly. Democratic incumbent Andru Volinsky, who won 58-42 in 2018, is leaving to run for governor against Sununu in the September primary, and six Democrats and two Republicans are competing to succeed him.
District 3, by contrast, is the body’s most conservative seat, though it’s still winnable for Team Blue. This southeastern New Hampshire constituency, which is home to Portsmouth, backed Trump 50-45 and Sununu 56-43. Republican incumbent Russell Prescott is retiring two years after he won reelection by a narrow 49-48, and two Democrats and three Republicans are running to replace him.
Republicans did flip District 4, which is home to Manchester and nearby areas, last cycle when Democrat Chris Pappas left to successfully run for the U.S. House. The seat backed Trump 49-46, while Sununu took it by a large 57-43 spread: The district is currently held by freshman Republican Ted Gatsas, who won it 49-47 a year after he lost reelection as mayor of Manchester, and three Democrats are running here now.
Democrats made up for that loss in 2018 in District 5, which includes Nashua and other communities in the southern part of the state and supported Trump and Sununu 48-47 and 54-45, respectively. Democrat Debora Pignatelli, who previously served on the Executive Council from 2005 through 2011 and 2013 through 2015, waged another comeback campaign last year and unseated Republican incumbent Dave Wheeler 51-47. Wheeler is running again this year for his old post.
P.S. You can find our master list of statewide election results by congressional and legislative district here, which we’ll be updating as we add new states. Additionally, you can find all our data from 2018 and past cycles here.