Nashua’s Negron nominated to challenge Kuster

NASHUA – In a very tight contest not decided until early this morning, Nashua’s Steve Negron secured the Republican nomination for the right to challenge U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, D-N.H., in the November general election.

“The voters have made their voices heard loud and clear. They have spoken, and they are ready for change. They are craving a new direction with a bold agenda that will bring New Hampshire values back to Capitol Hill,” Negron said early this morning after being declared the winner in the New Hampshire primary. “For too long, our seat has not belonged to the people. It has belonged to a member of Congress who is beholden to the special interests and partisan politicians who are more concerned with an out-of-touch Washington agenda. We deserve so much better.”

Kuster faced no primary opposition on the Democratic side.

Negron, whose supporters gathered at Fuego Bar & Grill on Nashua’s Main Street to await their candidate late Tuesday, narrowly defeated several other candidates. Preliminary vote totals show Negron with about 26.6 percent of the vote. Hopkinton physician Stewart Levenson took about 24.7 percent of the vote, while military nurse Lynne Blankenbeker finished third with about 23.2 percent of the vote.

“Kuster’s favorability rating is under water, and her ties to California and New York donors are a major liability for her this November,” New Hampshire Republican Chairman Wayne MacDonald said early this morning.

Nevertheless, multiple national political organizations rate Kuster as a heavy favorite to win another term in Congress.

Also in District 2, Libertarian Justin O’Donnell, a Nashua resident, defeated Tom Alciere of Hudson, gathering 75 percent of the vote in that party’s primary.

In District 1, meanwhile, the GOP primary race was similarly tight until just after 9 p.m., when Eddie Edwards, a former police chief and Liquor Commission prosecutor, began pulling away toward victory.

His chief rival, Andy Sanborn, conceded a short time later, writing in an emailed statement that he “wishes our nominee the very best in the general election,” referring to Edwards.

Sanborn added that he “will do everything in my power to support our Republican nominee and I look forward to finally sending someone to Washington that we know will represent our shared values far better than any Democrat could.”

As for the Democratic side of the District 1 race, incumbent U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H., is not seeking re-election. Former state representative and county treasurer Chris Pappas topped an 11-candidate field to win the Democratic nomination.

Pappas, the current District 4 Executive Councilor, had a roughly 15 percentage point lead over chief rival Maura Sullivan with more than 70 percent of votes counted.

Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-1256, or, dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com or @Telegraph_DeanS.