Dems have edge in fundraising for city Senate seats

CONCORD – The Democratic candidates seeking two, vacant state Senate seats centered in Nashua have a distinct though not overwhelming edge in campaign cash over their Republican rivals.

The seats up for grabs with the retirements of Senate Majority Leader Joseph Foster and Sen. David Gottesman, both D-Nashua, are considered among the most competitive this November. The senators represent District 13 and District 12, respectively.

Democrat Peggy Gilmour, a longtime human services executive from Hollis, is up against former state Rep. Paul LaFlamme, R-Nashua, in Gottesman’s district that includes Nashua Wards 1, 2, 5 and 9 along with Brookline, Hollis and Mason.

State Rep. Bette Lasky, D-Nashua, will face Nashua Realtor Sandra Ziehm in Foster’s district made up of Nashua Wards 3, 4, 6, 7 and 8.

Lasky and Gilmour had raised more money and had more cash left over than LaFlamme and Ziehm, respectively, according to campaign finance reports they turned in Wednesday.

But the financial disadvantage for the two local Republican candidates was less than what other GOP candidates for the Senate faced across the state.

Lasky raised $29,768 and spent $2,237 leaving her with $27,531.

Ziehm raised $11,445, spent $1,389 and had $10,064 in her campaign account.

Lasky’s husband, Elliot, is a longtime optometrist in the region and many from that profession gave Bette Lasky campaign checks, including David Bellows, of Manchester ($250); Stephen Byrnes, of Londonderry ($500); David Helfman, of Hollis ($1,000); and the New Hampshire Optometric Association ($1,000).

Other politically familiar supporters included Senate President Sylvia Larsen, D-Concord ($1,000); Gottesman ($1,000); Katrina Swett, of Bow ($250); the Professional Firefighters of New Hampshire ($2,000); Granite State Teamsters ($500); and the state trial lawyers committee known as the New Hampshire Association for Justice ($500).

Most of the money she spent – $1,713 – went to printing and campaign stationery with Keystone Press.

Ziehm is a former chairwoman of the Nashua Republican City Committee and has been a fundraiser for past GOP candidates,

Ziehm’s donors included Sen. John E. Sununu’s Daniel Webster Political Action Committee ($1,000); Sen. Robert Clegg, R-Hudson, ($500); New Hampshire Realtors ($1,000); former Sen. Jane O’Hearn, R-Nashua, ($200); Nashua car dealer John Tulley ($250); and Nashua lawyer Andrew Cernota ($250).

She’s spent $530 on printing with NSP Graphics, of Nashua, $203 for a Hudson company that made T-shirts and $400 for Hollis GOP activist Liz Christofersen, who did mailings and invitations for the candidate.

Party registration favors the Democrats in Foster’s district but his first victory in 2002 over Rep. Bea Francoeur, R-Nashua, was so close that it required a recount.

In District 12, Gilmour has now raised a total of $28,086, spent $3,378 and has $24,708 left in the bank.

LaFlamme raised $16,640, spent $1,967 and had a balance of $14,672.

Gilmour helped create a successful hospice program centered in Nashua and her donors included Clearwater, Fla., health-care executive Rebecca McDonald ($150); Bedford home health nurse Joan Hull ($500); and Cherry Hill, N.J., hospice executive Elaine Cox ($500).

Lasky’s husband, Elliot, gave Gilmour $1,000 and other donors were the New Hampshire Hospital Association ($250); Hollis retiree Jack Law ($500); Sen. Harold Janeway, D-Webster ($250); the Manchester law firm of Abramson, Brown and Dugan ($250); longtime Manchester Democratic activist C. Arthur Soucy ($150); and Washington, D.C., business executive Ann Vickery ($1,000).

Gilmour spent $1,261 on printing with Keystone Press and $1,000 on consulting with Bridge Communications of Newington, Conn.

Nashua Mayor Donnalee Lozeau’s husband, David, gave Republican Senate hopeful LaFlamme $250 as did GOP congressional candidate Jennifer Horn.

The anti-income and sales tax group New Hampshire First PAC also gave him $500.

LaFlamme is a real estate agent and other supporters included the state Realtors ($1,000); Dionne Property Services of Nashua ($100); Cynthia Densberger, of Nashua, an agent for Re-Max ($100); along with Nashua Board of Education member Dennis Hogan ($500); and Sen. Sununu’s PAC ($1,000).

Since leaving the Legislature, LaFlamme has stayed active to protect animals used in dog racing and the Grey2KUSA political action committee gave him $1,000.

His expenses included $1,021 for printing by Spectrum Monthly of Manchester and $336 on postage.