Mont Vernon residents will be well represented in Concord

MONT VERNON – One of the most unusual results of Tuesday’s election is the ascendancy of Mont Vernon, which may now have New Hampshire’s highest per-capita representation in the state House of Representatives.

Even more unusual is the ascendancy of the Mont Vernon School Board, which is sending 60 percent of its members in Concord.

Consider the results from Hillsborough County District 4. None of the hopefuls from New Boston, Lyndeborough, Temple or Wilton – all of whom were Democrats – won, leaving the field to four Mont Vernonites:

– Incumbent Pam Coughlin, who topped all candidates even though she was out of the country for much of the campaign tending to her husband. John Coughlin was Hillsborough County attorney until called up to Iraq as a major with the National Guard. He has suffered some intestinal problems, but is now back at work.

– Former incumbent Linda Foster, the area’s only successful Democrat, who returned to the House after having been narrowly defeated in the GOP deluge of 2002.

– Newcomers Bill O’Brien and Bob Mead, both conservative Republicans.

That means Mont Vernon, population roughly 2,300, has one state representative for every 575 people – more than five times the average for the state, which has one representative for roughly every 3,100 people. And the five-person Mont Vernon School Board? Coughlin, O’Brien and Mead all sit on it.

Voting with a purpose

HUDSON – The high voter turnout on Election Day resulted in a wealth of donations for the troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

More than 400 pounds of nonperishable items were donated at Lions Hall, the town’s polling place, for the troops overseas.

It was part of a community-wide effort, dubbed “Support the Troops by Voting.” As in the region as a whole, there was a high voter turnout – 11,607 people cast ballots and 1,676 registered at the polls. There are about 13,926 registered voters in town, including the newly registered ones.

“It’s remarkable to have this kind of turnout,” said Town Moderator Michael Keenan, who helped organize “Support the Troops.”

Sweet dreams

Peter Bragdon faced a close race for the state Senate on Tuesday – a real nail-biter against Mark Fernald.

So how did Bragdon spend election night: Glued to TV, cell phone and Web browser like the rest of the nation?


“I went to bed and turned the phones off,” he said.

With his base of Amherst having to hand-count votes because so many people showed up that the town ran out of ballots, he was sleeping?!?

“We knew it was going to be close, and that it was going to be late. I figured there wasn’t much I could do,” Bragdon explained Wednesday.

Such unconcern proved prescient, as Bragdon won the District 11 seat by about 440 votes.

Sign wars

MILFORD – The battle of the political signs got vicious on the Oval on Election Day, but it wasn’t the usual scenario of dueling volunteers. This time, it was people vs. building.

The people were Democrats, who for most of the day snagged all three of the entry points to Milford’s historic downtown. Up to a dozen volunteers hoisted signs for John Kerry, John Lynch et al. and waved at passing vehicles, with hardly a GOP sign-holder in sight. Hardly a human GOP sign-holder in sight, that is.

For more than a month, the Oval has been dominated by a series of huge campaign signs touting President Bush, Gov. Craig Benson and Peter Bragdon, adorning the first and second floors of a building on the Souhegan River side of the triangle. This seems only fitting, since the building housed Joe’s Barbershop for decades. Until his death at age 80 in 2002, Joe Swiezynski’s barbershop was an obligatory stop for GOP candidates, including Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and both George Bushes, and now it is local GOP headquarters.

This raised a question, however, of which party won the Oval sign wars.

Good question. Like the election itself, it was very close: Back-of-the-envelope calculations estimated that total square footage from the fewer but much larger Republican signs equaled the total area of the many smaller signs waved by Democrats.