The final state legislative election of 2022

On Feb. 21, voters in New Hampshire’s House Stafford 8 District will determine the winner of the only remaining uncalled state legislative election of the 2022 cycle.

The seat was up for election on Nov. 8, but ended in a 970 to 970 vote tie, resulting in a redo election between incumbent Chuck Grassie (D) and David Walker (R).

Regarding the initial tied result, Grassie said, “this was not unexpected … We both ran good campaigns … and we’re both well-known in the community.” Walker said, “We’ve known each other for over 30 years, both well-known in the ward, so it is what it is.”

A redo election is a process of voiding election results and holding a new election. The specific reasons for calling a redo election vary but can include anything from a tied vote to deliberate efforts to obscure results to mistakes like a broken voting machine.

While New Hampshire’s redo election will not affect control of the state House, it will determine the extent of Republican control in the 400-member chamber, the nation’s largest.

If Grassie wins re-election, Republicans will control 201 seats to Democrats’ 197. If Walker wins, Republicans will extend their majority to 202 versus Democrats’ 196. Two seats, previously held by Democrats, are also currently vacant.

Under New Hampshire state law, in the event of a tied legislative race, the state Legislature either determines the winner or sets a process for deciding the winner.

Calling a redo election is not unprecedented in New Hampshire. The Legislature followed a similar course of action in 1992, also in response to a tied result.

Connecticut held a redo Democratic primary in House District 127 last September. In that race, officials learned that four ineligible voters had cast absentee/mail-in ballots, a larger number than the two-vote margin separating the candidates. Challenger Marcus Brown (D) defeated incumbent John Hennessy (D) in the redo election.