by James Kofalt
Too many State Reps get away with positioning themselves one way and then voting an entirely different way. On the “R” side of the fence, we always seem to have a handful of Republicans who vote with the Democrat platform more often than they vote with the GOP. CarolynGargasz (R, Hollis) has straddled that line over the years, occasionally falling below a 50% rating from the House Republican Alliance (HRA), and sometimes venturing as high as the mid-fifties.
Judging from yesterday’s results, Hollis GOP voters have finally had enough. After 18 years as State Rep, Gargasz placed a distant fourth in a four-way primary.
This didn’t happen by accident, and it didn’t happen without some effort. It started with the grassroots. A small group of committed Hollis residents was motivated to recruit candidates and to help get the word out about Carolyn Gargasz’s voting record.
Two new candidates stepped up to the plate: James Kelly (a physician who also serves in the NH Army National Guard), and Donna Levasseur (a longtime resident who has been very active in working to hold the local School Board accountable).
GraniteGrok sponsored a debate last week, which brought an additional focus to substantive issues, candidate positions, and voting records. The 603 Alliance ran Facebook ads to expose Gargasz’s long history of bad votes. And the local grassroots worked hard to spread the word; door-to-door and person-to-person.
Most importantly, Hollis voters showed up at the polls in sufficient numbers to make a difference. Participation increased by 45% over the 2016 primary. This was on a day when overall voter participation in the state primary was lackluster.
Here are the results:
While it’s true that many voters base their decision on personality and name recognition, politicians at all levels of government should be aware that when their votes in Concord run contrary to the platform they claim to represent, it will eventually catch up to them. See you in the 2020 primary!