Rep. Garrett Muscatel (D) resigned from his seat in the New Hampshire House of Representatives on June 9, according to House Speaker Stephen Shurtleff (D). Muscatel, who was one of four legislators representing District Grafton 12, was first elected to the chamber in 2018.
WMUR reported that the New Hampshire Republican Party argued that Muscatel was no longer a resident of the state of New Hampshire. Muscatel was a student of Dartmouth University and lived in a dormitory on the university’s campus until student housing closed in March due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. An announcement from Stanford University Law School, where Muscatel plans to start studying in the fall, described him as being from California. In response to the reports that he was no longer a New Hampshire resident, Muscatel said, “I am and will continue to be a New Hampshire resident.” Prior to his resignation, Muscatel had announced that he did not intend to run for re-election this year.
Muscatel’s departure from the legislature creates the fifth vacancy in the 400-person state House. The partisan composition of the remaining seats is 232 Democrats, 162 Republicans, and one Libertarian. Ballotpedia has identified the New Hampshire House of Representatives as one of 22 state legislative battleground chambers for the 2020 cycle. Republicans need to flip 35 seats, or 9% of the total seats, in order to win a majority in the chamber.