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Dems flip two GOP-held seats in special elections

The Hill logo The Hill 2/28/2018 Reid Wilson
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Democratic candidates on Tuesday won two special elections for state legislative seats in the Northeast, another indication for the party that a blue wave is forming ahead of November's midterm elections.

In New Hampshire, Laconia voters elected substance abuse counselor Philip Spagnuolo (D) over Republican Les Cartier, a former state employee, in a district President Trump carried by a 13-point margin in 2016.

The district opened up when the incumbent, state Rep. Donald Flanders (R), died in September.

In Connecticut, Democrat Philip Young defeated Republican Bill Cabral to win a Stratford-based district that has been in Republican hands for decades -- even though Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton carried a narrow plurality there in 2016.

Both Young and Cabral were former Stratford town councilmembers. The seat came open when state Rep. Laura Hoydick (R) resigned to become mayor of Stratford.

The wins Tuesday night extend the Democratic advantage in special elections held since Trump was inaugurated last year. In 2018 alone, Democrats have won Republican-held state legislative seats in Wisconsin, Florida, Kentucky and Missouri.

The New Hampshire seat is the fifth Democrats have taken from Republicans since Trump's inauguration.

Neither election held Tuesday will substantially alter local politics in New Hampshire or Connecticut. Republicans maintain a wide majority in the New Hampshire state House, while Democrats have added to their majority in their state House.

National Democrats bragged that they spent significantly in both races. And a group run by former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander (D) also spent money in the New Hampshire special election.


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