Kenney captures GOP Executive Council primary

Last modified: 1/22/2014 12:19:48 AM
Former New Hampshire state representative and senator Joe Kenney defeated two Republican rivals yesterday for the right to run for the executive council seat held for nearly four decades by Ray Burton.

According to unofficial results, Kenney topped Laconia businessman Christopher Boothby and retired congressional aide Mark Aldrich with about 60 percent of the precincts reporting in yesterday’s GOP primary. Official results have yet to be certified by the secretary of state, but both Aldrich and Boothby conceded the contest about 9 p.m.

“Our message was simply that we’re going to do this full time and that we’re the candidate with the experience,” Kenney said.

Aldrich said he thought the best candidate won.

“I respect his service to the district and to the state,” he said.

The five-member council works with the governor to approve state contracts worth more than $10,000 and appoint judges and commissioners. They also manage and oversee a 10-year plan to improve roads and bridges, and represent the interests of their districts. They are paid $15,169.44 a year.

District 1 takes up much of New Hampshire, 108 towns in the northern two-thirds of the state from just north of Concord to the Canadian border. Some 264,000 people live in the district, which includes the White Mountains and the Lakes Region.

Kenney will face Democratic Grafton County Commissioner Michael Cryans of Hanover. The general election is March 11.

Kenney, of Wakefield, is also a former U.S. Marine; Aldrich, of Lebanon, is a former U.S. Senate state director for Bob Smith and Gordon Humphrey; and Boothby, of Meredith, is a former Belknap County commissioner.

Burton, New Hampshire’s longest-serving council member, died Nov. 12 of kidney cancer at age 74. All three candidates stressed their connection and similarity to Burton, who was a tireless advocate for New Hampshire’s North Country.

During the campaign, all three said they would continue the retail politicking and personal service that was characteristic of Burton.

“I certainly want to congratulate Joe Kenney and his supporters on their victory tonight,” Boothby said.

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