By John Toole
---- — Suspended Rockingham County Attorney Jim Reams announced yesterday he won’t seek re-election.
“I do not want my current legal proceedings to overshadow the need for a healthy debate on the future leadership of the Rockingham County’s office, which would be unavoidable if I ran for re-election,” Reams said.
Reams, a Republican, said he intends to finish his current term.
He referred questions to his attorney, Michael Ramsdell.
Attorney General Joseph Foster stripped Reams of his prosecutorial authority in November amid an investigation of the office’s management and allegations of sexual harassment.
Reams has denied wrongdoing and has asked in court that he be reinstated to the job. A hearing is scheduled for March 10 in Merrimack County Superior Court.
“I will continue to seek legal remedies to clear my name and to regain my law enforcement authority to serve in Rockingham County,” Reams said. “I am confident I will ultimately be exonerated.”
Salem police prosecutor Jason Grosky, 37, said last week he would run for the post.
Grosky is a Republican from Atkinson.
In announcing his run, he said it was time to “restore credibility” to the county office.
Yesterday, Grosky credited Reams with what he called a good first step in repairing some of the significant issues emerging from the state probe.
“I would encourage him to take the next step and resign from office,” Grosky said.
In deciding to seek the county office, Grosky said he wasn’t worried about what anybody else would do or waiting to see if any shoes would fall.
For him, he said, this was the right time to run. He also intends to bring his campaign to all voters, regardless of party.
“I think it’s important to reach out to everybody,” Grosky said.
Rockingham County Democratic Chairman Larry Drake said he expects the party will field at least one candidate.
“Nobody has made any announcement,” Drake said. “I’m hoping some people are thinking about it.”
Reams, 66, thanked Rockingham County voters for electing him to eight terms.
Rep. Al Baldasaro, R-Londonderry, said yesterday he was disappointed in Reams’s decision.
“It’s a shame Jim Reams is not running,” Baldasaro said. “He’s done a great job for the county.”
Baldasaro didn’t hold back on Reams’s legal troubles.
“It’s political what they are doing to him,” he said.
Bruce Breton, Republican chairman in Windham, called Reams’s decision a surprise.
“I thought Jim had done a great job over the years,” Breton said.
The county attorney is paid $85,000 a year. Reams has been on paid administrative leave.