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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Brown special election victory ups Nashua Democratic House delegation to 24

NASHUA – Republican Elizabeth Van Twuyver on Tuesday lost her second straight bid for the District 31 House seat, falling 36 votes short of Democratic opponent Pam Brown in the special election to replace the embattled Stacie Laughton.

“I’m so exhausted,” Brown said while hugging supporters after Ward 4 moderator Jim Barnett announced her 203-167 victory. “I never imagined it would take so much hard work.” ...

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NASHUA – Republican Elizabeth Van Twuyver on Tuesday lost her second straight bid for the District 31 House seat, falling 36 votes short of Democratic opponent Pam Brown in the special election to replace the embattled Stacie Laughton.

“I’m so exhausted,” Brown said while hugging supporters after Ward 4 moderator Jim Barnett announced her 203-167 victory. “I never imagined it would take so much hard work.”

Brown, 56, assumes the seat, which represents Nashua’s Ward 4 in the House of Representatives, that was left vacant when Democratic ex-Rep.-elect Stacie Laughton – who would’ve been the state’s first openly transgendered lawmaker – relinquished her post in December after news surfaced that she had committed several felonies as Barry Charles Laughton Jr. in 2008.

The 370 votes cast fell a bit short of City Clerk Paul Bergeron’s prediction that 400 voters would turn out Tuesday, but the total is pretty much in line with expectations of a special election involving one ward.

The Board of Aldermen voted unanimously in December to hold a special election to fill Laughton’s vacated seat. The election cost the city roughly $2,200 in wages, postage and numerous miscellaneous supplies.

Brown, a New Jersey native who moved to Nashua 16 years ago, will find herself surrounded by kindred spirits when she reports to the Statehouse: Twenty-four of Nashua’s 27 House seats belong to Democrats.

Brown’s win is seen as an early disappointment for newly elected state Republican party head Jennifer Horn, who’s also a Nashua resident and who campaigned hard for Van Twuyver.

Van Twuyver, 67, who is retired and a member of the Nashua Board of Education, ran unsuccessfully for the same seat Nov. 6, garnering 754 votes that placed her fourth behind Democrats David Cote, Mary Gorman and Laughton.

A message left for Van Twuyver wasn’t immediately returned Tuesday night.

Brown, a staunch supporter of President Obama, who served as Ward 4 neighborhood team leader during his 2012 campaign, credited the campaign skills she learned then for helping her achieve victory Tuesday.

“At the time, some people suggested I’d be a good candidate,” Brown said of her work for Obama.

When the news came out about Laughton, which Brown said “shocked all of us” (in Ward 4), the encouragement she received earlier prompted her to toss her hat into the District 31 ring, she said.

Looking ahead to taking her seat, Brown said of the Legislature, “I know we need to be fiscally responsible, but I’ll definitely be putting people before politics.”

Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-6443 or dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Shalhoup on Twitter (@Telegraph_DeanS).