Incumbents, GOP take every county race

Hillsborough County Republican candidates swept the polls Tuesday, cleaning up in all of the county’s contested and uncontested races.

Republican James Hardy retained his seat as Hillsborough County sheriff, defeating Democrat opponent Ben Clemons with approximately 60 percent of the votes cast in the sheriff’s race.

Hardy, a Pelham native and 20-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, was first elected sheriff in 2002, replacing Republican Walter Morse who retired in January 2003 after more than 10 years as the county’s high sheriff.

“I appreciate the vote of confidence,” Hardy said in a telephone conversation Thursday night.

Hardy said he thought his law enforcement background and Clemons’ lack thereof was the deciding factor in the race.

“Experience matters,” Hardy said.

Clemons, a Nashua native and first-time candidate managed to beat Hardy in the towns of Peterborough and Sharon as well asNashua’s Ward 4, but only garnered 68,850 votes, eventually losing to Hardy’s 102,352 votes.

During his campaign, Clemons, a Hudson Wal-Mart employee, criticized the hiring practices and use of resources in the sheriff’s office, and claimed that Hardy’s management style had resulted in low morale among office employees.

Clemons said he wasn’t very disappointed at the loss, but rather was impressed that he had managed to garner 40 percent of the vote while only spending $1,200 on his campaign.

“It was a great experience. I met a lot of people and the best thing about the campaign was that the issues actually got out and they were discussed in the community,” Clemons said.

In other races for county offices:

– David Fredette, the city of Nashua’s treasurer/tax collector, was re-elected as county treasurer, defeating Nick Panagopoulos of Manchester.

– Register of Deeds Judith MacDonald of Merrimack was re-elected, defeating Vicki Meagher of Nashua. Andrew Tempelman of Nashua, who ran a write-in campaign with a platform of abolishing property liens, received 234 write-in votes, including 78 in Merrimack and 69 in Nashua’s Ward 2.

– District 2 Commissioner Rhona Charbonneau of Hudson defeated challenger Michael Clemons of Nashua.

– District 3 Commissioner Carol Holden of Amherst defeated Joseph Hickey Sr. of Merrimack.

County Attorney Marguerite Wageling, Register of Probate Bob Rivard and District 1 Commissioner Toni Pappas had no opposition.