Low Tax Candidates Won in Portsmouth

Low Tax Candidates Won in Portsmouth

11-08-2011 Portsmouth Municipal Election Results

In Portsmouth, there was a concentrated effort  to not only get the more pro-liberty candidates elected, but to improve their vote totals.  The effort was led by Association of Portsmouth Taxpayers and others.  All of the APT endorsed candidates were elected.  Even better, while many incumbents received fewer votes than in 2009, all of the APT endorsed incumbents received more voter than in 2009.  The more efficient government candidates on the ballot increased their vote totals by 30%, 18%, 17% and 5% versus the 2009 results.  The candidates in favor of more spending and taxes decreases their vote totals 17%, 8% and 7% respectively.  The only tax and spend candidate to increase his vote total was Councilor Bob Lister.

The Portsmouth city council is elected by an unusual method.  There are nine city council seats.  The top vote getter is declared the mayor.  The number two vote getter is declared the assistant mayor.  Democratic Councilor Eric Spears received the most voters with 13.5% of the total in a ten way race.  Spears campaigned for mayor on an agenda to keep tax increases around the same level as inflation.  Spears has a history of good votes, scrutinizing expensive spending and even challenging the police union when it comes to spending.  He received a B from APT and had the second best voting record of the incumbents according to a chart on the APT website.

Councilor Spears helped lead an effort to get a referendum question on the municipal ballot.  The question, if passed, would prevent elected officials from working for the city or school system while in office.  The voters passed with question overwhelmingly with 81% voting yes.

In an apparent judgment lapse, APT also endorsed incumbent Assistant Mayor Nancy Clayburgh.  When Councilor Spears learned about the endorsement he called up Assistant Mayor Clayburgh and said he was furious.  According to Assistant Mayor Clayburgh, he also went to APT people and said the endorsement should be removed.  Partly because of Councilor Spears’ action, the bottom parts of the APT endorsement signs were removed so that Assistant Mayor Clayburgh’s name would no long be on the signs.

The APT also endorsed Councilor Anthony Coviello, Councilor Esther Kennedy, Jack Thorsen for City Council and Mary Olea for the School Board.  Councilor Coviello was the third highest rated incumbent on the APT voting record chart.  Councilor Coviello claimed that high quality schools and keeping the budget in line were top priorities.  Councilor Kennedy was the highest rated incumbent on the APT voting record chart.

Republican Jack Thorsen is known as a strong fiscal conservative.  Unfortunately, Thorsen was the only candidate to sign the APT pledge.  It says, I pledge to only approve a city budget that results in a decrease in the property tax rate. Thorsen was outed for being friendly with a few area free staters in a letter to the editor about the election in a failed attempt to get voters to reject him.  Thorsen made failed attempts at city council in 2009 and state representative in 2010.  In 2010, the Democratic leaning Portsmouth Herald newspaper was so upset with then Democratic Speaker of the House Terie Norelli, it endorsed Thorsen to replace Speaker Norelli in her position as a state representative from Portsmouth.  As far as I know, Thorsen was the only Republican that the Portsmouth Herald endorsed in 2010.  Thorsen is known for being open about his positions and writing letters to the editor to the Portsmouth Herald.  For example, in 2010, he wrote a letter explaining why it makes sense to completely legalize cannabis in NH and sell it in stores.  Just before Thorsen was elected to city council, he was on Portsmouth based libertarian radio show Left Right And Correct.  On the show, Thorsen talked about his distrust of government officials.

The only other Republican Councilor is Ken Smith.  Councilor Smith signed the APT pledge in 2009 but voted to increase taxes in 2009.  The APT rated Councilor Smith D-, the second worst of the incumbent councilors.  There is an anti-Smith website, active since 2009.  According to the website, Councilor Smith’s voting total dropped by 210 votes between 2007 and 2009.  According to APT, he received 303 fewer votes in 2011, a 17% drop.  Councilor Smith is also known for trying to increase police pay, even though police already earn over twice as much as private sector workers in Portsmouth.

2 Responses

  1. […] fiscal conservative, won reelection to the Portsmouth City Council on Tuesday. In 2011 he had 1,098 votes in a in a 11 way race for 9 seats. In 2013 he had 1,693 votes in a 23 way race for 9 seats. Jack […]

  2. […] fiscal conservative, won reelection to the Portsmouth City Council on Tuesday. In 2011 he had 1,098 votes in a in a 11 way race for 9 seats. In 2013 he had 1,693 votes in a 23 way race for 9 seats. Jack […]

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