Sullivan keeps edge over Girard in Manchester recount; will challenge incumbent Craig in November

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Oct. 1—The slim margin of votes that put Victoria Sullivan ahead of Rich Girard in Manchester's preliminary election held after a recount Friday.

Sullivan will take on incumbent Mayor Joyce Craig in November, in a rematch of the 2019 contest.

Campaign volunteers and elections officials spent Friday examining and counting all 10,584 ballots cast in last week's city primary election, with the outcome of the challenger to Craig hanging in the balance.

The two candidates with the most to gain or lose in the recount — recount requester Girard and second-place winner Sullivan — commanded separate tables, marshaling volunteers and monitoring the process.

In interviews, both Republicans seem little interested in endorsing the other despite the outcome.

"I will not be supporting Victoria Sullivan," Girard said after the recount confirmed Sullivan would be the one to challenge Craig. He said he did not plan to vote for her, and would either write in another name or not cast a vote for mayor.

"Joyce Craig's record is what it is. Victoria Sullivan has no experience in city government, no experience as an executive. She is wholly unqualified for the job," Girard said. "That is going to upset a lot of my Republican friends who think anybody is better than Joyce Craig."

Sullivan did not immediately return a request for comment after the recount ended.

Girard also said an endorsement for Sullivan would would mean an endorsement of her slash and burn style of campaigning.

The Sullivan campaign raised issues about his personal life, he said. During a pre-election meeting with former Republican Senate candidate Corky Messner, Sullivan said she couldn't look her sons in the eyes if she supported a moral reprobate, Girard said.

Girard said the incident she alluded to, involving news reports of his approaches toward a younger woman, took place seven years ago.

"There is apparently no allowance in Victoria Sullivan's Christian world for forgiveness nor respect for the fact that my wife and I worked it out and are in fact better for it," Girard said.

Sullivan said earlier Friday that if Girard had prevailed, she would have offered her support for Girard, meaning she would vote for him and encourage her supporters to do so if he won. But she did not offer her endorsement, which would have entailed actively campaigning for him and appearing in advertisements.

"There's no hard feelings for me. I just want us going in one direction and working together," Sullivan said. She said she has reached out to Girard supporters and asked for their support.

Craig, a Democrat, was not present. Her vote total exceeded the totals of her two primary opponents combined, but the general election could draw nearly twice as many voters as the primary.

Each of the eight ballot-inspection tables included representatives from all three campaigns. Election officials presented each ballot, and campaign representatives had the ability to challenge it.

Sullivan said she has confidence in City Clerk Matthew Normand and the workers who run the elections in the ward level.

Girard said he asked for the recount given the large number of absentee ballots, the number of blank ballots and problems caused by folded ballots in 2020 in Windham.

"The worst that's going to come out of this is people here have greater confidence in the accuracy of the machines," he said.

Staff writer Josie Albertson-Grove contributed to this report.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting