Cavanaugh, Normand face off in Democratic primary for open N.H. Senate seat

Monitor staff
Published: 6/4/2017 12:13:51 AM

Big-name Democrats are lining up behind Manchester union organizer Kevin Cavanaugh, who has raised twice as much as Jim Normand in the primary race for Senate District 16, which includes Bow, Dunbarton and Hooksett. 

Records show Cavanaugh has raised more than $43,000, with some of the biggest checks coming from IBEW local 2320, where he works as an Assistant Business Manager. Normand, a Manchester attorney, has brought in $20,000, but says money shouldn’t decide the race. 

The men are competing June 6 to replace Democratic Sen. Scott McGilvray, who died earlier year. The Democratic candidates line up on many policy issues, but diverge in the backgrounds and approach.



Cavanaugh,  51, was motivated to run to secure funding for full-day kindergarten and pledges to stand up for working people. In Concord, Cavanaugh says he would  bring the “perspective of someone who has worked as a blue collar worker” for 32 years at New England Telephone and later Fairpoint Communications. 

Normand, 63, prioritizes accountability in government and said his top issue includes improving healthcare for New Hampshire residents. Normand, whose practice covers personal injury and wrongful deaths, says he will bring a “fresh view” to Concord. 

Both candidates are against a full repeal of the death penalty, support raising the minimum wage and oppose further cuts to business taxes. 

The men are open to a casino gambling, but for very different reasons. 

Cavanaugh says casinos will bring good-paying jobs with benefits.“That would have been a great way to get people working in the state and get some tax revenue out of it. In the future if there’s another spot,” he said of recent proposals. 

Normand said he would only consider gambling it pays for something specific, like funding education. “I am not for casinos just because we want to turn this into a gambling state,” he said. “How are we going to fund our education adequately? That is one position I would consider.”

Neither candidate has served in the Legislature recently, but both have political experience. Cavanaugh is serving his first term on the Manchester Board of Alderman. Normand was in the House of Representatives in the 1970s and recently retired from the Executive Branch Ethics Committee after eight years. 

Cavanaugh has drawn endorsements from several big-name Democrats, including former gubernatorial candidate Colin Van Ostern and Concord Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky. And he has the backing of the state’s largest teacher’s union. 

Normand differentiates himself from the union organizer by saying he is running to tackle the tough issues.  He called it a conflict of interest when as an alderman, Cavanaugh last year brought forward a resolution urging FairPoint Communications to keep jobs in state after the company’s pending sale is finalized. 

Cavanaugh disputed the characterization. “For me to stand up for working people and fight for them, I am honored to do that,” he said. “I don’t think that is a conflict just for trying to help people.”

The primary winner will go on to compete in the special election July 25 against Republican David Boutin of Hooksett, who held the seat until 2016, and Libertarian Jason Dubrow of Dunbarton.

On the issues: 

Minimum wage: Cavanaugh and Normand said they support establishing and increasing the minimum wage in New Hampshire, which currently relies on the federal rate of $7.25. Neither named a specific figure where they would like to see it raised. 

Death penalty: Both men said they wouldn’t repeal the death penalty for cases of murder for hire or killing a law enforcement officer. 

Marijuana: Norman said he is not ready to legalize marijuana, but is ok with decriminalizing the drug. Cavanaugh said he would consider legalizing and taxing marijuana. 

Business taxes: Both opposed continued cuts to the state’s business enterprise and profits taxes. 

Education: Normand and Cavanaugh support funding full-day kindergarten and oppose voucher efforts, which would let parents use taxpayer dollars to help pay for private school or home education. 



Bio Box

Kevin Cavanaugh of Manchester

Manchester Alderman 

Assistant Business Manager at IBEW Local 2320 

Running to secure funding for full-day kindergarten and to represent working people



Jim Normand of Manchester

Attorney and founder of Normand Higham law firm in Manchester

Former member of the Executive Branch Ethics Committee

Running to improve health care and to bring accountability and transparency to government

Concord Monitor Office

1 Monitor Drive
Concord,NH 03301


© 2021 Concord Monitor
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy