The three candidates in Manchester’s mayoral primary election spent the final days before polls open on Tuesday looking to sway the minds of undecided voters.
City voters head to the polls this week to cast ballots in the 2021 municipal primary election. Primaries for school board and aldermen will take place in several wards across Manchester, along with the citywide mayoral race.
Polls will be open Tuesday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Public schools in Manchester will be closed Tuesday due to the election. City Hall will remain open during normal business hours, with the City Clerk’s Office open for election-related business only until 8 p.m.
Incumbent Mayor Joyce Craig is seeking reelection to a third term in office, while Craig’s 2019 mayoral opponent, Victoria Sullivan, and former alderman and school board member Rich Girard both hope to unseat her.
The New Hampshire Union Leader checked in with all three campaigns to hear how each candidate spent the final weekend before voters narrow the field from three to two.
Throughout the weekend, volunteers for Craig made phone calls and knocked on doors in each ward.
Craig appeared at the CelebratED event for Manchester schools on Saturday and served food for a few hours at Glendi Saturday evening. She also spent time knocking on doors over the weekend as well.
“When I began my second term as mayor in January 2020, I was excited to continue helping our residents lead better lives with stronger schools, a safer community, good jobs, and a growing economy,” said Craig in a statement. “When the pandemic hit, we focused our efforts on keeping our residents safe, students supported, and businesses open. Today, Manchester is ready to continue its growth, thanks in large part to the resiliency of Queen City residents.”
Craig touted the $43 million in federal American Rescue Plan funds, developing programs to prevent violent crime, support small business, increase affordable housing, assist seniors and support education.
“Through these initiatives and more, we’re setting Manchester up for long-term success,” said Craig. “I love this city, and I hope to earn your vote on Tuesday.”
A campaign spokesman said Craig plans to spend Tuesday visiting polling locations around the city to thank supporters, before joining family, friends and volunteers at campaign headquarters.
Girard said his campaign spent the weekend doing “what we’ve been doing right along” — knocking on doors, listening to voters, taking notes and answering questions.
Volunteers dropped literature on doors in neighborhoods the campaign has yet to visit.
“Our city needs a steady, experienced leader who knows the issues, the people, how City Hall works and how to change it,” Girard said in a statement. “From being a mayor’s aide, alderman, school board member and charter commissioner, I have a unique set of experiences that provide me with the knowledge and know how to get things done.
“My track record demonstrates that I do what I say, say what I mean, and am willing to work with anyone to get things done. My proposals provide systemic changes in how the city deals with homeless vagrants, crime, taxes and spending, schools, housing and development and I encourage people to check them out at www.girardformayor.com. If you want leadership that will bring change and competence to City Hall, I ask for your vote.”
Girard said his campaign will host an election night event at the Derryfield Country Club on Tuesday.
Girard is expected to head for the Derryfield Country Club after the polls close, and the campaign said it will monitor election results on site.
Sullivan said her campaign spent the weekend doing a sign wave at Glendi “spending some time enjoying some good food and music” before heading to the CelebratED event for Manchester schools.
She also spent time knocking on doors in Wards 10 and 8 and calling voters, while volunteers did the same across the city.
Sullivan said she would like undecided voters to know she has volunteered at her children’s schools, coached many different sports, organized book drives and volunteered at food banks. She also served on the Manchester Heritage Commission, and as a selectman and state representative for Ward 9.
“I am the only person in this race with the relationships in Concord in order to implement long-term solutions that address homelessness, crime, and the aggressive panhandlers that are hurting our downtown businesses and our community” Sullivan said in a statement.
“My experience in education gives me the knowledge to bring our schools into brighter days where every child has the opportunity to reach their full potential. I am running for mayor of Manchester because I want us all to work together to save our city and bring her to her brightest days.”
The Sullivan campaign will host a primary election night party Tuesday at SOHO Bistro & Lounge on Old Granite Street.