Challenger Halvorsen defeats Davis for county attorney seat

  • Paul Halvorsen discusses his candidacy for county attorney in an interview at the Monitor on Aug. 29, 2018.

Monitor staff
Published: 11/4/2020 6:22:16 PM
Modified: 11/4/2020 6:22:05 PM

A Republican who emphasized increasing connections with police departments has unseated the Merrimack county attorney, a former public defender who emphasizes rehabilitation.

Paul Halvorsen, assistant city prosecutor for Concord who has twice served on the city council, won the county-wide race by 41,768 to 40,494 over Robin Davis, according to the Monitor’s tabulation.

In the other county-wide law enforcement race, Democrat David Croft won the sheriff’s race by more than 2,000 votes over Dennis Crawford. He replaces Scott Hilliard, a Republican, who resigned this year following a drunken driving conviction after occupying the office since 2006.

The county attorney race was a rerun of 2018, when Davis squeaked past Halvorsen as part of a Democratic sweep after getting the party nomination on a write-in campaign. She replaced Scott Murray, a Republican who was appointed U.S. Attorney in the District of New Hampshire, which handles federal prosecutions.

Previously Davis was a public defender, including many years in the Concord. Her campaign for re-election focused on the importance of treatment facilities and rehabilitation in response to crime, especially crime involving mental health issues and substance addiction.

Halvorsen took frequent aim at Davis for being embroiled in a legal dispute with a former sexual assault investigator, who alleges a hostile and chaotic work environment. Questions have also been raised about changes to a specialized team assigned primarily to sexual assault and child abuse prosecutions.

Halvorsen said these disputes reflect Davis’ poor leadership, including poor relations with police, and pointed to his experience working in the Drug Enforcement Administration and Custom drug interdiction programs, where he says he led a team of close to 200 people.

The county attorney prose cutes felonies and misdemeanor appeals in state courts. It oversees almost three dozen attorneys and support staff and some related functions.

Davis’ best result came in Concord, which she won overall by 12,545 to 8,922. Halvorsen compiled consistently strong results in GOP strongholds like Epson, Franklin and especially Loudon, which he carried by almost a 2-1 margin.

Both candidates are military veterans. Halvorsen is former Air Force officer and pilot, while Davis served in Army at Fort Hood, Texas.

David Brooks bio photo

David Brooks is a reporter and the writer of the sci/tech column Granite Geek and blog, as well as moderator of the monthly Science Cafe Concord events. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in mathematics he became a newspaperman, working in Virginia and Tennessee before spending 28 years at the Nashua Telegraph . He joined the Monitor in 2015.

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