MANCHESTER, NH – Jay Ruais and Kevin Cavanaugh will square off in November’s Manchester Municipal Election, after coming in first and second place respectively in Tuesday’s primary.
Ruais received the most votes of any candidate in 11 of the city’s 12 wards. The only ward where he was outpaced was Ward 2 where incumbent Ward 2 Alderman Will Stewart was the top vote-getter with 571 votes versus Ruais’ 420. Ruais, who earned 4,291 votes citywide, even outpaced second-place candidate Cavanaugh in the ward he currently represents on the Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen, Ward 1,742 votes to 544.
In a speech to supporters at the Derryfield Country Club on Tuesday night, Ruais said that while not everyone in Manchester needs to agree on everything, his campaign embodied a desire for change that has been voiced by people at the 19,000 doors his campaign has knocked on to date.
“The frustration I hear from people is borne out of their love for the City of Manchester,” he said. “People recognize all that the City of Manchester has to offer and they want a leader. They want leadership to stand up and fix the challenges that we have and this election represents a clear and simple choice whether we continue with the status quo or if we begin tonight to fix the problems that we have in the city of Manchester.”
Although Manchester’s municipal elections are officially non-partisan, in practice the two major state parties play a major role influencing municipal politics. Ruais was the only registered Republican among the four mayoral candidates on Tuesday while Cavanaugh, Stewart and Alderman At-Large June Trisciani are registered Democrats. Cavanaugh was the top vote-getter among the three Democrats in 10 of the city’s 12 wards, with Stewart defeating him in Ward 2 (571-224) and Ward 3 (141-123). Taking the three Democratic candidates vote tallies combined, they defeated Ruais in all but one ward, Ward 8 (560-506).
At Ruais’ event, North End Properties President Norri Oberlander announced an upcoming event with New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu and Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Kelly Ayotte aimed at helping Ruais and all other Republicans running for municipal office in Manchester this fall.
Cavanaugh told reporters on primary night that he feels that he will welcome and work with any Democrats in Manchester that wish to get elected this November and would seek to ensure a working majority on the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, stating that he is unlikely to support any candidates who do not seek to bring more housing to Manchester. However, he also made a point during primary night speeches on Tuesday reiterating his emphasis on bipartisanship and reaching out to people of all ideological persuasions throughout his political career.
“My record is always working with people and I’m proud of it. You can talk to people that when I went to the Senate and in my last day in the Senate, I was proud going in there thinking that I was going to be arguing and fighting with everyone, but I left with more friends that I showed up with,” he said. “I don’t care if you’re a State Senator or an Alderman or the Mayor of Manchester, if you’re not doing things for the people of the city and the state, then you shouldn’t be there.”
Although Ruais’ attacked Cavanaugh, calling him a “rubber stamp” and seeing him as ineffective toward solving issues during his eight years as an Alderman, Cavanaugh declined to attack Ruais’ statements so far during the campaign in return.
Incumbent Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig praised Cavanaugh and the accomplishments she has seen him achieve during the decades they’ve known each other going back to their time as children in Manchester’s public school system. Craig also reiterated her belief that all three Democratic campaigns will unite now that the Municipal General Election season has arrived and that Cavanaugh will attract other voters as well.
“I think we will all come together and support Kevin, I think it’s important to note that he has broad support, he has support from Democrats, Independents and Republicans and I think we saw that today in the results,” said Craig.
Manchester voters will choose between Cavanaugh and Ruais on Tuesday, Nov. 7.