CONCORD — The field of Republican candidates for the Executive Council seat in District 1 grew to three as Joe Kenney of Wakefield and Mark Aldrich of Lebanon entered the race, joining Christopher Boothby of Meredith, who was the first to file.
Kenney served in the New Hampshire Legislature for 14 years between 1994 and 2008, four terms in the House and three in the Senate, before mounting an unsuccessful campaign for governor against incumbent Democrat John Lynch, who was re-elected his third term by a margin of more than two-to-one. He served 34 years in the United States Marine Corps, reaching the rank of lieutenant colonel, and is a veteran of the Persian Gulf War as well as of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
No stranger to politics, Aldrich was a congressional aide and state director for both United States Senator Gordon Humphrey and Congressman Bob Smith for two decades, whose responsibilities included fostering economic development in the North Country. After leaving Smith's staff he worked as a business consultant and served stint as economic development director for the city of Claremont before retiring.
Michael Cryans of Lebanon, who has served on the Grafton County Commission for the past 16 years, is the lone Democrat to have filed. Mark Hounsell of Conway, who served two terms in the state senate as a Republican but has since become a Democrat, has indicated that he is likely to run for the seat.
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 — Laconia, Berlin Claremont and Lebanon — 101 of its 221 towns and 19 of its 25 unincorporated places.