CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Republican Joe Kenney has won the special election to replace longtime Executive Councilor Ray Burton in New Hampshire’s North Country by about 1,300 votes.
In a statement Wednesday morning, Democrat Michael Cryans conceded the race, saying he left a message for Kenney wishing him luck on the council.
Official results compiled by the New Hampshire Secretary of State shows Kenney defeated Cryans by a count of 21,351 to 20,084. The race was too close to call Tuesday night in the bid to represent the vast District 1 seat left vacant when Burton died in November.
“I would like to congratulate Joe Kenney on his election as Executive Councilor for District 1,” said Gov. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat. “I also commend Mike Cryans for his efforts and for participating in New Hampshire’s robust democratic process. Serving in the seat held for over three decades by Ray Burton is a special responsibility, and I look forward to working with Councilor-elect Kenney to achieve bipartisan progress and to ensure that the people and communities of northern New Hampshire are well-represented in Concord.”
About 264,000 people live in the 108-town district that stretches from just north of Concord to the Canadian border and includes the White Mountains and the Lakes Region. Both men campaigned on a promise to continue the constituent service that was a hallmark of Burton’s nearly four decades in office. They agreed that economic development and better roads and bridges are essential in the district.
Kenney, 53, is a former state representative and senator who ran for governor in 2008. He’s spent 30 years in the Marines and reserves. Cryans, 63, has been a Grafton County commissioner for 17 years.
State Democratic Chairman Ray Buckley noted that the district has been in Republican hands for more than 50 years.
“This is just the beginning for Mike Cryans,” he said. “The North Country and its people have seen measurable improvements in their lives thanks to Mike’s dedicated work as a county commissioner alongside Ray Burton.”