Merrimack County: Hilliard, Halvorsen win GOP primaries for sheriff, county attorney

Monitor staff
Published: 9/11/2018 10:54:44 PM

Former Concord city councilor Paul Halvorsen held a commanding lead in the race for the Republican nomination for Merrimack County Attorney on Tuesday night, while incumbent Scott Hilliard won the GOP nomination for county sheriff.

Halvorsen was poised to defeat Hillsborough County prosecutor Nicole Shultz-Price in Tuesday’s primary elections. He held 65 percent of the vote with about half of the towns reporting results, including Concord.

Halvorsen, who has won and lost races for public office before, was cautiously optimistic when reached by phone Tuesday night.

“It’s a good feeling but I am waiting until the final count is in,” he said. “I don’t count my chickens until their hatched.”

With no Democratic candidate on the ballot, Halvorsen’s potential primary win could pave his way to the County Attorney’s office.

Halvorsen has prosecuted criminal cases in Merrimack County for 15 years, an experience which he says has prepared him for the county attorney’s office. He spent two years as a public defender before becoming a prosecutor.

Halvorsen is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. He retired from the Air Force in 1997 and moved to Bradford and then a few months later to Concord, where he earned his law degree from Franklin Pierce Law Center, now called the UNH School of Law.

Hilliard has occupied the sheriff’s office since 2006 and hadn’t faced a primary opponent in 10 years. He defeated Paul Montray and will face Hopkinton Democrat Ricardo Rodriguez in November.

“The citizens of Merrimack County have always been good to me,” said Hilliard, a former Northfield police chief. “I’ve tried to be the best sheriff I could and be responsive to their communities.”

 Halvorsen endorsed Hilliard in a letter to the Monitor published Sept. 7, and Hilliard is listed as treasurer for Halvorsen’s county attorney campaign, according to documents filed with the Secretary of State’s office.

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