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NH Politics

Eight N.H. cities held contested mayoral elections. Here’s who won

Here’s how those eight mayoral contests on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023, panned out, based on unofficial election-night tallies of the votes.

A person walked past City Hall in Manchester, on Sept. 26, 2023.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

Voters in many cities and towns across New Hampshire headed to the polls on Tuesday for local elections to decide who would represent them in school and municipal offices.

The most closely watched races included mayoral contests in eight of the state’s 13 cities. In four of the cities, incumbent mayors didn’t seek reelection. In the other four, incumbents faced challengers.

Here’s how those eight mayoral contests panned out, based on unofficial election-night tallies of the votes. (This story will be updated as results become available.)


After a four-way primary election, Jay Ruais and Kevin Cavanaugh faced off Tuesday to see who will serve next as mayor of Manchester.


Ruais emerged victorious with 9,392 votes, or just over 51 percent, according to unofficial results. Cavanaugh garnered 8,904 votes, or just shy of 49 percent.

Cavanaugh, the current Ward 1 alderman and former state senator, was the candidate preferred by Democratic leaders. He secured endorsements from labor unions, Senator Maggie Hassan, and outgoing Mayor Joyce Craig, who’s running for governor. He was endorsed by Planned Parenthood’s political advocacy group.

Ruais was the candidate preferred by Republican leaders. He entered the race with an endorsement from Governor Chris Sununu and other GOP leaders. He’s a former congressional staffer, an infantry officer in the Army National Guard, and a nonprofit leader. He was endorsed by Cornerstone Action, a conservative Christian advocacy group.


The three candidates who competed to be mayor of Concord were at-large city councilor Byron O. Champlin, former school board member Kate West, and author and poet George Jack.

Champlin came out on top, according to unofficial results. Including He received 5,036 votes, or nearly 74 percent of the votes. West received 1,364, and Jack got 401.

Champlin is a familiar face to some in Concord, since he’s served on the city council for a decade. He has praised the tenure of long-serving Concord Mayor Jim Bouley and touted plans to build on what he views as Bouley’s success.


West had campaigned on her lived experience, saying her perspective as a single mom who lost her seat on the school board because she was unhoused for several months would inform her approach to the job.

Jack kept quiet about his platform and qualifications. He is an author and poet who ran unsuccessfully for school board a decade ago.


The two candidates who went toe to toe to become mayor of Keene were former Democratic state senator Jay Kahn and Bradford Hutchinson.

Kahn bested Hutchinson, receiving 2,625 votes, while Hutchinson got 247, according to unofficial results.

The two-term incumbent, Mayor George Hansel, who ran in the GOP primary in 2022 for New Hampshire’s second congressional district, didn’t seek reelection.


The two mayoral candidates in Somersworth were city councilor Matt Gerding and political newcomer Kitara Maxey.

Gerding got the win with more than 84 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results.

The incumbent, Mayor Dana S. Hilliard, didn’t seek reelection after a decade in office.


Incumbent Nashua Mayor James Donchess faced a challenge from retired police officer Michael Soucy.

Donchess won, receiving 8,097 votes or 52 percent, while Soucy got 7,446 or 48 percent, according to unofficial results.

It will be Donchess’ third consecutive term in the office, on top of two terms he served from the late 1980s into the 1990s.


Soucy garnered high-profile Republican endorsements from Governor Chris Sununu and former US senator Kelly Ayotte, who’s running for governor in 2024 and lives in Nashua.


Incumbent Rochester Mayor Paul Callaghan faced a challenge from Susan J. Rice.

Callaghan sailed to reelection, according to unofficial results.

“I’m humbled to have earned the support and confidence of my neighbors in Rochester as we continue the important work of making our city an even better place to live, work and raise a family,” he said. “It is one of the greatest privileges of my life to continue to give back to the community that has given me so much. I look forward to working with residents across the city to keep Rochester moving forward.”

Callaghan, who works as a prosecutor in the Strafford County Sheriff’s Office, previously ran for sheriff.

Rice, a vocal critic of Callaghan and other city leaders, is the mother of a former city councilor who was booted from his seat over sexual harassment, as Foster’s Daily Democrat reported.


In Portsmouth, incumbent Mayor Deaglan McEachern ran for reelection. He was among 17 candidates seeking nine City Council seats. The city’s top overall vote-getter would be declared mayor.

McEachern won reelection to a second term as mayor, and all the incumbent councilors were reelected as well, according to unofficial results.


Incumbent Berlin Mayor Paul R. Grenier faced a challenge from Sarah Mafera, Robert L. Theberge, and Robert E. Cone.


Cone defeated Grenier, with 667 votes, while Grenier received 618, according to unofficial results.

This article will be updated.

Steven Porter can be reached at Follow him @reporterporter. Amanda Gokee can be reached at Follow her @amanda_gokee.