MANCHESTER, N.H. – On Tuesday night, Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig received 52.46 percent of the votes in unofficial early returns (5,477 of 10,440) and will face former State Representative Victoria Sullivan (2,546 votes) in November, with former Alderman At-Large and Board of School Committee member At-Large Rich Girard (2,417 votes) finishing third.
In response to the results, Craig released the following statement.
“I’m thankful for the enthusiastic support we said today. I’m incredibly proud of the work of our campaign, and grateful for the volunteers and everyone who came out and made their voices heard. Manchester is ready to continue its growth, and I will continue working to earn the support of Queen City residents on November 2nd.”
Sullivan was watching the numbers come in Tuesday night along with her campaign consultant Mike Biundo at SoHo Bistro and Lounge on Old Granite Street. The process seemed slow but before 8 p.m. it seemed clear that she had beaten Girard by enough to eliminate any question or call for a recount.
“I didn’t take anything for granted,” Sullivan said. “That’s why we’ve been fighting so hard.”
Sullivan noted that with the combined numbers from among GOP voters, it shows the city “is ready for change and that Joyce Craig is vulnerable.”
She added that she’s looking forward to “bringing Manchester into its brightest days.”
New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley released a statement.
“Tonight’s primary was an excellent night for Democrats in the Queen City. We continued to build power at every level and in every race. We would like to send special congratulations to Mayor Joyce Craig for her overwhelming, decisive, victory! Since 2018, Manchester has been well-served under her responsible leadership, and voters know she will continue to guide Manchester with a steady hand. The Queen City overwhelmingly rejected Victoria Sullivan and her dangerous ideologies two years ago and we’re on track to do it again. Make no mistake, Victoria Sullivan is an extremist who is completely beholden to special interests. Sullivan’s destructive record in the State Legislature — which includes voting to defund public education and against funding to combat the opioid crisis — has always been out of step with voters in Manchester. Since her loss in 2019, she has aligned herself with the fringes of her party and extreme right-wing conspiracy theorists. It comes as no surprise to me that voters rejected Victoria Sullivan and all that she stands for. Tonight voters in Manchester spoke loud and clear — our choice is Joyce and we look forward to re-electing her in November.”
Girard thanked supporters who gathered at the Derryfield Country Club, after learning the results and conceding the race.
“As disappointing as this is, I see an upside to this. The people that are here are a fraction of the people that stepped up to help our campaign and in the process, I made new friends and was able to reconnect with old friends,” said Girard. “The disappointing thing is the sense that you let people down, so I want to let everybody in this room know that I appreciate everything that you did for me.”
Sullivan supporter State Rep. Dick Marston, who attended Sullivan’s victory party Tuesday, said Sullivan will “have to work her tail off” if she is to beat Craig in the general election.
“She’ll have to go after the independents and the Republicans. Girard made her work hard, and that’s not the worst thing in the world, especially when you win,” Marston said. “She should reach out and get Girard to help her.”
When asked if she thought Girard would support her campaign, Sullivan said that she and Girard had met early on during campaign season at the urging of former Republican U.S. Senate candidate Corky Messner, and both candidates at that time agreed they would support the other after the primary.
However, following his concession speech Tuesday, Girard told the Ink Link that was untrue, adding, “Now we have a choice between the status quo and someone who has no functional understanding of city government,” Girard said.
Sullivan released a longer statement later in the evening.
“The voters of the Queen City have spoken tonight, and they did so clearly and definitively. They are tired of Craig’s chaos and are demanding a better Manchester with safer streets, stronger schools, and a superior quality of life that they deserve. I pledge to deliver on that. My family is a blue-collar one, so I know what it’s like to have to struggle to make ends meet. I understand the issues real Manchester residents are faced with every day, but I also have spent my life giving back to our city and fighting for it in Concord. Unlike our current mayor, I have the passion, the relationships, and the compassion to tackle the issues our city is facing head on. Despite dumping in hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, to prop up Joyce Craig’s political career, the New Hampshire Democrats have a less than 5 point lead amongst the Republican vote count. The message to come out of tonight is: Mayor Joyce Craig is extremely beatable. I look forward to continuing to work hard from now until Election Day, earning the trust of the voters and preparing to lead our city come next year. A brighter future is coming, Manchester. Together we can make our city shine once again.”
Alderman At-Large Candidate Winter Trabex, on the ballot at Mark Dennis, released the following statement after she did not advance on Tuesday.
“Thank you for everyone who came out and voted today. Although I was the last place vote getter for alderman-at-large, I have no regrets about my campaign. I got to meet a lot of really good people, learn a lot of new things, and help others when and where I could. I would like to endorse June Trisciani for the November election. I believe she would make an excellent alderman for Manchester.”
Above: Victoria Sullivan’s victory speech. Video/Carol Robidoux
Voters voted down the poll question, which asked if there should be a charter commission established to either revise the existing city charter or to establish a new one, with 4,282 voting “yes,” and 5,013 voting “no.”
Unofficial Primary Winners:
Joyce Craig: 5,477
Victoria Sullivan: 2,545
Joseph Levasseur: 3,556
Dan Goonan: 3,472
June Trisciani: 3,395
Daniel O’Neil: 3,137
School Committee At-Large
Jim O’Connell: 4,396
Peter Argeropoulos: 3,575
William Infantine: 3,031
Joseph Lachance: 2,923
WARD 2 School Committee
Sean Parr: 477
Kathleen Kelly Arnold: 378
WARD 4 Alderman
Jim Roy: 196
Christine Fajardo: 195
WARD 5 Alderman
Tony Sapienza: 271
Teresa Vigneault: 67
WARD 8 Alderman (special election)
Edward Sapienza: 1,179
Sean Sargent: 728
WARD 10 School Committee
Gary Hamer: 440
Nicholas Pigeon: 236
WARD 12 Alderman
Erin Kelly: 384
Dick Marston: 267
Below are the full unofficial election results issued late Tuesday night by City Clerk Matthew Normand.