Election News: Executive Council seats up for grabs

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Members of the Executive Council and Gov. Chris Sununu take a break after meeting at the Seacoast Science Center in Rye last October. From left are councilors Russell Prescott, Gov. Sununu, Debora Pignatelli and from left standing are Councilors Mike Cryans, Andru Volinsky and Ted Gatsas. File Photo

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CONCORD, NH – New Hampshire has a unique, five-member Executive Council that confirms the governor’s nominations to the courts and state department heads and approves or rejects state contracts.

You can read the full list of Executive Council duties here.

Currently, Democrats outnumber Republicans on the council 3-2. All five seats are up for grabs this fall.

The five seats are broken up geographically with District 1 the northern half of the state, District 2 in the Concord Area, District 3 in the Seacoast, District four in the Manchester area, and District 5 in the Nashua area.

Two incumbents are not running for re-election. District 3 Executive Councilor Russell Prescott, a Republican, has decided to step aside at the end of his term and District 2 Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky of Concord is running for governor as a Democrat, facing state Senator Dan Feltes of Concord in the primary.

There will be four contested Republican races for Executive Council Sept. 8 and three contested Democratic races for Executive Council that same day.


District 1 incumbent Mike Cryans in uncontested in the primary but will face either Republican Joseph Kenney or Kim Strathdee after the primary. Kenney previously held the post after the death of longtime Executive Councilor Ray Burton, a Bath Republican.

District 2 has a crowded field with Volinsky out seeking higher office.
On the Republican side, Jim Beard and Stewart Levenson will face off in the primary and on the Democratic side, there are six candidates. They are Leah Plunkett, John Shea, Emmett Soldati, Jay Surdukowski, Craig Thompson, and Cinde Warmington.

In District 3, Democrats Mindi Messmer and Pat Lovejoy will vie for the nomination while on the Republican side is Timothy Comerford, Bruce Crochetiere, and Janet Stevens.

District 4 incumbent Ted Gatsas, a Manchester Republican, is unopposed but will face one of three candidates on the Democratic side. They are Kolawole Ernest Adewumi, Jerome Duval, and Mark S. MacKenzie.

District 5 incumbent Debora Pignatelli of Nashua, a Democrat, is unopposed but will face a Republican, either former councilor Dave Wheeler or former State Sen. Bob Clegg in the general election.

You can get more background on each of the candidates on Ballotopedia.org.
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About this Author

Paula Tracy

Veteran reporter Paula Tracy writes for InDepthNH.org