Cavanaugh concedes, wishes Ruais well: ‘We have to work together. That’s how we fix things’

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Kevin Cavanaugh makes his way to the podium to concede the race to Jay Ruais Tuesday night at the Hill Bar and Grill. Photo/Carol Robidoux

MANCHESTER, NH – It was a tough loss for Kevin Cavanaugh, who lost to opponent Jay Ruais by 488 votes according to the unofficial tally from the city clerk’s office. And although he was in it to win it, Cavanaugh is keeping it positive on the other side of a hard-fought campaign, just as he and Ruais did in the months leading up to election day.

Following an emotional concession speech surrounded by his family and a room full of supporters at the Hill Bar and Grill, Cavanaugh said the thing that needed to be said.

“I’m here and I’m not going anywhere. I love this city and I know Jay does and we care about the people of the city and the problems of the city,” Cavanaugh said. “And like I said all along – and like he said, too – we have to work together. That’s how we fix things.”

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Former Manchester Mayor Sylvio Dupuis had some encouraging words for Kevin Cavanaugh following his concession speech. “I told him keep going,” Dupuis said. Photo/Carol Robidoux

“This hurts. It breaks my heart but it doesn’t stop me from caring about Manchester. I’ll keep fighting for Manchester. What we’ve always done as an Irish family, if you go to a funeral, sadness is going to break out and then the party is going to take over and that’s what I want this to be,” Cavanaugh said.

He thanked his family for standing by him, and his campaign staff for all their efforts. Then he extended his gratitude to all the volunteers who knocked doors for him, and every person in the room for their support.

“And I wish Jay Ruais good luck,” he said, his voice breaking with the emotion of the moment. “We will always, always stand up for Manchester and the working people that are here. I love every single one of you and I can’t thank all of you enough. Thank you for what you’ve done for me. It touched me.”

Cavanaugh came up short despite a strong base of support from many city Democrats, including Mayor Joyce Craig, who endorsed Cavanaugh’s campaign during the primary. Craig, who was in attendance at Cavanaugh’s celebration Tuesday night, released the following statement after the results were announced.

“Congratulations to Mayor-Elect Jay Ruais on his well-earned victory. During my six years as Mayor, we’ve worked hard to make Manchester more affordable, keep our residents safe, and strengthen our schools. We’ve shown what is possible with dedicated public servants who have worked with us, from the Board of Aldermen and School Board to all the City and School District employees who work tirelessly on behalf of Manchester residents. I spoke with Jay this evening and believe he shares our dedication to making our city stronger for everyone.

“I’d like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to my long-time friend Kevin Cavanaugh for running a campaign focused on what we love about our city and for his dedication to serving the people of Manchester. I know Kevin will continue to serve our city and fight to improve the lives of everyone in it.”

Following his speech former Manchester Mayor Sylvio Dupuis was one of the first people to make his way to the podium to shake his hand and give him some words of encouragement.

“I told him to keep going. There’s more to be done,” said Dupuis, who reflected on his own political ups and downs over the course of his service to the city. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose but you have to keep going.”

Cavanaugh has served as a state senator and his term as Ward 1 Alderman will end with the new year. When asked if there would be a next chapter, he smiled and paused to catch his breath.

“I don’t know. I mean, It’s fresh right now. I’m a sports guy. I don’t like to lose. We’ll see.”

Below: Cavanaugh’s concession speech.

About this Author

Carol Robidoux

PublisherManchester Ink Link

Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!