GOP challenger to take on Executive Councilor Volinsky

  • Jim Beard Courtesy—

For the Monitor
Published: 3/7/2018 1:07:34 PM

Democratic Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky of Concord, who has made a splash during his short time in office, now has a GOP challenger as he runs for re-election.

Republican Jim Beard of Lempster on Wednesday announced his campaign for the Executive Council in District 2.

The district stretches from the Vermont border all the way to the Seacoast region and encompasses 43 towns and six cities, including Concord, Keene, Rochester and Dover.

Beard is a Keene native who’s worked as a pilot, aviation manager and strategic director for various aircraft manufacturing companies.

In 2016, he narrowly lost to now-state Sen. Ruth Ward by just nine votes out of more than 5,000 cast in the GOP primary to fill the open Senate seat held by Republican Jerry Little, who stepped down to become state banking commissioner.

“As a former strategic sales executive, I’ve created and managed multi-million dollar contracts across the globe. No detail was too insignificant,” Beard said, touting his manufacturing background. “If elected, I will bring this experience and attention to detail in order to provide the sincere, transparent and effective state government that the people of District 2 deserve.”

Volinsky, a progressive Democrat who’s one of the state’s top labor lawyers, won election to the seat in 2016, defeating then-state Sen. Sam Cataldo 53 percent to 47 percent in a district that tends to favor Democratic candidates, thanks to the inclusion of Concord as well as a large number of college students in Durham and Keene.

Last summer Volinsky mulled a 2018 gubernatorial bid before announcing in September that he would run for re-election.

He made headlines recently and stirred controversy with a personal investigation of large cash sales at state liquor stores to out-of-state people. Volinsky alleges that the state liquor commission’s turning a “blind eye” to such sales, which he says could violate federal tax laws.

Beard’s 2016 bid for the state Senate was his first run for office. While losing to Ward by nine votes in the primary was frustrating, Beard told the Monitor he worked hard and drew satisfaction out of the experience even though he lost.

“I realize that she outspent me three to one,” Beard said. “And for nine votes, that’s an awful lot of money.”

Beard said he was elected chair of the Sullivan County GOP last year and as a result, has been very involved with the state Republican Party.

Beard said he would run his campaign for the five-member Executive Council similar to how he campaigned for state Senate. But he acknowledged that he’s got his work cut out for him in the eastern part of the district, where he’s not well known.

“There’s no question I have to focus on the east side of Concord,” Beard said.

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