NASHUA — Pete Silva, the former House Majority Leader, will face off against former alderman Carl Andrade in the November election for an open state representative seat in Nashua’s Ward 8.
Nearly 500 ballots were cast in Tuesday’s special primary election, where the only item on the ballot was the House seat left vacant when Roland LaPlante resigned in February because of health issues.
Two candidates — Andrade and former Board of Education member Latha Mangipudi — were on the Democratic ballot and ran a tight race with Andrade receiving 170 votes and Mangipudi obtaining a close 167, according to unofficial results made available at press time. Silva was the sole candidate on the Republican ballot; he took home 141 votes.
“I was at the polls in the morning and it was kind of slow. But, it was encouraging to see the amount of Republicans that came out for a relatively meaningless vote since there was just one candidate on the ballot,” said Silva. “It is nice to know that there are supporters out there.”
Silva said he is optimistic about the November election, and is ready to get back into politics. Election officials were only predicting about 100 Republican votes since it was an uncontested primary on the Republican ballot, so additional ballots were requested after it was apparent that more than 100 Republicans would hit the polls.
“We will obviously continue campaigning. We are going to go at it, take it seriously and do the best we can do,” said Silva. “I think the last election woke a few people up, and they are starting to realize there is only so much money in the pot. We need to stop the spending, and I believe we should run government like we would run our own household.”
Andrade, of Clydesdale Circle, said he hoped more people would have hit the polls on Tuesday.“I have done an awful lot of work to get people to the polls,” said Andrade, adding the other two candidates also put in a lot of time to get the word out to Ward 8 voters.
Andrade, who served on the Board of Aldermen from 1978 to 1992 and was a former mayoral candidate in Nashua, said Tuesday that he anticipated a close race.
“I believe that I have a record I can run on, and I think this is a good opportunity to serve my city in Concord,” he said. “I think I will be a good representative because I already know how government works in Nashua.”
Despite Tuesday’s results, Andrade and Mangipudi both agreed to support each other in November in an effort to keep the House seat filled by a Democrat, according to Andrade.
He has lived in Nashua since 1976, and currently serves on the city’s Business and Industrial Development Authority. Andrade is also the owner and CEO of Top Tier Connections Inc. in Nashua, an international business development company.
Mangipudi, of Salmon Brook Drive, said Tuesday that she has been busy knocking on doors, making phone calls and emailing Democrats to try to get them to the polls on Tuesday.
Prior to the results being announced Tuesday night, Mangipudi said she was hopeful to win the primary election and take on Silva on Nov. 5.
“I am in it to win it,” said Mangipudi. “This is still so important to me. My goal was to get more people involved and engaged in this political process.”
Democracy is not a spectator sport, according to Mangipudi, who said democracy starts with voting.
“This is my service to the community,” she said, adding she was disappointed with the low voter turnout, and maintained that many people were not even aware a special election was being held.
According to Gene Anderson, Ward 8 moderator, voter turnout was low on Tuesday, but that was expected for a special election.
“It is slow. We have had a couple of surges, but it is still way below the turnout we get for general elections,” said Anderson, noting only 150 ballots were cast as of noon on Tuesday.
Silva and Andrade will face off in the general election, which will be held the same day at the city’s municipal election on Nov. 5.