MANCHESTER, NH – It’s too soon for Joyce Craig to say what she will do next.
Immediate options: Call for a recount in the mayoral race – official election results have her 85 votes behind Mayor Ted Gatsas. It’s certainly an option, says Craig, “it’s less than half a percent difference,” and her supporters spent most of Wednesday encouraging her to do so.
She has until 5 p.m. on Nov. 6 to decide, although she said it’s likely she will go ahead and go for it, even though it will require the use of city manpower resources, which she realizes are stretched thin, and a $100 fee she must pay out of pocket, according to City Clerk Matthew Normand.
She will probably decide Thursday.
“There’s no sense in dragging it out until Friday,” says Craig.
In the long term, should the outcome of a recount leave her short of the votes needed to interrupt Gatsas’ re-election victory lap, Craig will continue to serve the community in some capacity.
Her term as Ward 1 Alderman ends Jan. 5 when Kevin Cavanaugh is sworn in to take over where she has left off.
“I have no regrets. We had a great team and so many volunteers who worked so hard,” said Craig Wednesday night, less than 24 hours after learning that, despite her best efforts to get her message out, she fell short at the polls. “I’m truly grateful.”
Getting people to get out and vote is always the challenge.
Craig believes her message resonated, but that it was obscured by what she terms “misinformation” circulated by the Gatsas campaign at every turn, including mailers and social media blasts.
“Saying I would increase taxes when under the law I can’t increase taxes any more than any other mayor has was just one of the scare tactics the mayor used,” says Craig.
If nothing else, the close race signals to Craig that Manchester is a city divided. If there is to be a tipping point for change – solving the heroin crisis, making the city a place where college graduates want to return to, to work and live, making the city a mecca for innovation and education and culture – it is going to take a village to rally for change.
Until the new year, Craig says she will have “no problem” working for her constituents alongside Gatsas, despite some pointed exchanges between the two on the campaign trail. “Private citizen” Craig will “absolutely” continue to do what she can to help make the city a better place to live and work, although it’s too soon to say what her next step will be.
“It’s been less than 24 hours, so I really can’t say what’s next. Right now I’m taking time to reconnect with my family,” says Craig.