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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pignatelli’s fortunes reversed in Executive Council race, takes strong lead late

Democrat Debora Pignatelli appeared headed toward a second defeat to Republican opponent David Wheeler on Tuesday in her attempt to regain her seat on the state’s Executive Council, according to early voting results.

Locally, Pignatelli lost to Wheeler in Amherst, Hollis, Brookline, Litchfield and Merrimack. She only won in tiny Lyndeborough, 492-461. ...

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Democrat Debora Pignatelli appeared headed toward a second defeat to Republican opponent David Wheeler on Tuesday in her attempt to regain her seat on the state’s Executive Council, according to early voting results.

Locally, Pignatelli lost to Wheeler in Amherst, Hollis, Brookline, Litchfield and Merrimack. She only won in tiny Lyndeborough, 492-461.

Throughout the district, Wheeler moved to keep his seat as District 5 executive councilor with a 53 percent to 47 percent lead over
Pigantelli, with about 20 percent of the votes counted.

Pignatelli, of Nashua, and Wheeler, of Milford, are familiar foes, having faced off in the past three elections.

As Pignatelli admitted, the candidates disagreed on virtually every political question, including passenger rail in southern New Hampshire and state funding for Planned Parenthood.

Wheeler was criticized by the Nashua business community for being inaccessible and refusing to attend Nashua Chamber of Commerce meetings.

He denied those accusations. When it was time for a candidate forum prior to voting day, however, Wheeler was unable to attend the chamber luncheon, and instead opted to address the crowd by video instead.

Passenger rail was one of the driving issues of the campaigns. Wheeler said “common sense” was enough to tell him the state can’t afford to build such a train from Boston to Manchester and voted to turn down a $3.7 million grant to study improving rail lines to connect southern New Hampshire to Massachusetts.

He said services like the Boston Express bus line should be the focus of alternative public transportation.

Pignatelli said she would have voted to spend the federal money and also differed with Wheeler over funding Planned Parenthood. The clinics serve too many women who depend on the group for all their health care to risk any of the clinics having to close, she said.