LACONIA — Joe Kenney of Wakefield — the winner of Tuesday's Republican primary race for the District 1 Executive Council seat — will face the lone Democrat Michael Cryans of Hanover in the general election on March 11. Cryans was unopposed in the Democratic primary.
Born and raised in Littleton, Cryans graduated from Springfield College and, after a spell teaching at Littleton High School, joined Littleton Savings Bank as a trainee and ultimately ended his career in banking as senior vice-president of Dartmouth Banking Company. He spent a decade self-employed, providing financial counseling to small businesses and working families. Since 2003 Cryans has served as director of Headrest, a substance abuse and recovery facility in Lebanon. A long distance runner, Cryans twice set the fastest time for a New Hampshire resident competing in the Boston Marathon.
For the past 18 years Cryans has served on the Grafton County Commission alongside the late Ray Burton, who held the Executive Council seat in District 1 continuously from 1981 until his passing last November. The two became close friends and colleagues and in 2012, Burton, a Republican, endorsed Cryans, a Democrat, for re-election to the Grafton County Commission.
"I'm not trying to fill Ray Burton's shoes," Cryans told officials of the State Employees Association. "I'm just trying to do the best I can. I don't know that anyone can be as accessible as Ray," he continued. "I have a phone, e-mail, but he was remarkable."
Cryans enjoys strong support from the New Hampshire Democratic Party, which with three of the five seats on the Executive Council considers his candidacy an opportunity to expand its majority to four-to-one. Last week he was endorsed by nine former state senators who represented parts of Executive Council 1, including two — Ralph Hough of Lebanon and Mark Hounsell of Conway — who after serving as Republicans became Democrats.
According to statements of receipts and expenditures filed with the New Hampshire Secretary of State, Cryans has raised $50,152 from more than 300 donors, both the most of the four candidates in the field. Without a primary opponent, Cryans has spent $2,063 and has a balance of $48,089 in hand for the general election campaign, which begins in earnest tomorrow.
The general election will be held on March 11, town meeting day across New Hampshire.