MEREDITH — Accompanied by a group of his closest supporters at the State House yesterday, Christopher Boothby of Meredith became the first Republican to enter the race to succeed the late Ray Burton as Executive Councilor in District 1.
The district sprawls across two-thirds of the land area of the state, reaches into six of its ten counties — Coos, Carroll, Grafton, Belknap, Strafford and Merrimack — and includes four of its 13 cites, 101 of its 221 towns and 19 of its 25 unincorporated places.
Boothby acknowledged there is a lot of ground to cover and voters to reach in the 58 days before the primary election on January 21, particularly since three major holidays — Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's — will punctuate the campaign. The winners of the primary will have 42 days to campaign until the general election on March 11. "This campaign will be all about making strategic use of resources," Boothby said.
Boothby, a resident of Meredith, served as an intern with Burton while attending graduate school at the University of New Hampshire. Boothby served as a Belknap County Commissioner for 12 years and during his tenure was twice president of the New Hampshire Association of Counties. For the past 15 years Boothby and his wife Maren have owned and operated Boothby Therapy Services, a Laconia firm that provides occupational and speech therapy services to school districts. During the same period he also worked at LRGHealthcare, as director of outpatient services as well as in philanthropy and community affairs.
"I'm working hard to assemble a strong team of advisors and network of supporters from around the district," said Boothby, who intends to devote all his time in the coming weeks to the campaign. "I'm very honored and pleased by the response I've received so far," he added, suggesting that that with the expansive district and abbreviated timetable the advantage will lie with candidates with an existing identity and presence in the district. He expected that his experience as a county commissioner and tenure as president of the association of counties would lend momentum to his candidacy.
One Democrat, Michael Cryans of Hanover, who with experience in banking and teaching has served 16 years on the Grafton County Commission, filed yesterday while Mark Hounsell of Conway, a former state senator and Conway selectman, and Jack Savage of Middleton, owner of Carriage House Publishing and moderator of the school district, have both said they are considering entering the race.
Among Republicans, Rick St. Hilaire of Lebanon, former Grafton County Attorney, and Josh Youseff of Laconia, who lost a bid for the New Hampshire Senate in 2012, have been mentioned as possible candidates.