Alumni and Student Candidates Have Strong Election Showing

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The College was represented in races for federal and state legislatures, governorships. 

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand ’88 and Gov. Bruce Rauner
Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand ’88 speaks to supporters Tuesday night after winning a third term representing New York in the U.S. Senate, and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner concedes the Illinois governor’s race at a campaign rally in Chicago. (AP Photos)

The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy will host a post-midterm panel on Thursday titled “2018 Mid-term Elections: What Might Change as a Result?” featuring sociology, government, and history faculty. The discussion begins at 5 p.m. in Rockefeller Center room 003.

Dartmouth alumni swept the U.S. House and Senate Tuesday and had mixed results in governors’ races, while Hanover elected a Dartmouth undergraduate to the New Hampshire House and returned an alumna to the State Senate in Concord, where they join new Democratic majorities in both chambers.

Democrat Garrett Muscatel ’20 took one of four seats representing Hanover and Lyme in the New Hampshire House, while fellow Dartmouth student Baronet “Webb” Harrington, a Republican, fell short in the five-person race. Democrat Sen. Martha Hennessey ’76 won reelection to the State Senate. Garrett and Hennessey head to Concord in January after New Hampshire voters split the ticket, flipping both houses to Democrats while returning Republican Chris Sununu to the governor’s office. New Hampshire governors are ex officio members of the Dartmouth Board of Trustees.

In U.S. Senate races, Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand ’88 won reelection by a 2 to 1 margin in New York; independent Sen. Angus King Jr. ’66 received more votes than his Republican and Democratic challengers combined to win a second term representing Maine; and Democrat Tina Smith, Tuck ’84, won a special election in Minnesota to hold the seat she inherited from Al Franken after he resigned earlier this year.

In the U.S. House, Democratic Rep. Ann McLane Kuster ’78 won an unprecedented fourth term to represent New Hampshire in Washington, D.C.; Republican Rep. Alex Mooney ’93 retained his seat in West Virginia by a wide margin; and Democrat Sean Casten, Thayer ’98, defeated Republican incumbent Peter Roskam in Illinois’ 6th congressional district outside Chicago.

Not on the ballot Tuesday was Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Mike Capuano ’73. Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley beat the longtime Boston-area politician in the September Democratic primary.  Pressley sailed through Tuesday’s general election unopposed, becoming the first black woman elected to Congress from Massachusetts.

None of these congressional races were viewed as critical in the midterm battle for control of Congress, which saw the Republicans retain the Senate and brought in a new Democratic majority in the House.

Dartmouth alumni were one-for-three in gubernatorial races around the country, with Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf ’71 winning a second term, incumbent Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner ’78 losing to Democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker in Illinois, and Democratic challenger Jay Gonzalez ’93 failing to unseat Massachusetts Republican Gov. Charles Baker.

And in California, where the governor and lieutenant governor are elected separately, Democrat Eleni Kounalakis ’89 won the lieutenant governor’s seat, defeating incumbent Democrat Ed Hernandez

In other Dartmouth-related races, Sunapee political newcomer Republican Gates Lucas ’16 unseated an incumbent Democrat to take a New Hampshire House seat representing Croydon and Sunapee, Democrat Jenn Alford-Teaster, a health care delivery researcher with Geisel School of Medicine, lost a close New Hampshire State Senate race against incumbent Republican Sen. Ruth Ward in the Monadnock Region, and former assistant provost Laurel Stavis won a New Hampshire House seat as a Democrat representing Lebanon, and, in Vermont, Democrat Annmarie Christensen, former director of communications for The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, won reelection to the Vermont House. In Ohio, Democrat Steven Dettelbach ’88, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, lost his bid to become state attorney general.

Another New Hampshire state position that is selected not at the ballot box, but by majority vote of the New Hampshire House, is secretary of state. Democrat Colin Van Ostern, Tuck ’09, is widely viewed as the favorite to replace longtime Secretary of State Bill Gardner when the new Democratic majority convenes. Gardner, who has been the guardian of New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary since he was first elected in 1976, has drawn the enmity of many Democrats with his participation in the Trump-inspired “voter integrity panel” and his support for Republican-backed legislation tightening voter registration requirements in the state.

William Platt can be reached at

Bill Platt