1st Female Mayor in Manchester History Plans to Focus on 'Things That Matter Most'
MANCHESTER — In a historic win Tuesday, Manchester Mayor-Elect Joyce Craig vowed to improve the city, touching on the opioid crisis and helping out businesses during a victory speech.
“As your mayor I will focus on the things that matter most for residents, improving our schools, making our streets safer, supporting our existing businesses and bringing new businesses to our city. And making real and lasting progress against the opioid crisis,” Craig said.
Mayor Ted Gatsas conceded around 30 minutes after the polls closed at 7 p.m., thanking supporters at the Derryfield Country Club.
“I thank you from the bottom of my heart,” he said.
Craig spoke minutes later in front of a throng of energized supporters and Democratic activists at the Puritan Conference Center.
“I’m incredibly honored and humbled to stand here tonight as the next mayor of Manchester,” she said.
This time around, there was little suspense.
A former Manchester alderman and school board member Craig defeated Gatsas Tuesday in a rematch of the 2015 election, when Craig lost by just 64 votes to Gatsas. According to unofficial totals the Democratic candidate topped the four-term Republican mayor by well over 1,000 votes.
Craig, come January, will become the first female mayor in the history of New Hampshire’s largest city.
Craig and Gatsas pledged to work with each other during the two-month transition.
Gatsas, a former alderman, state senator, and state Senate president, ended up losing nine of the city’s 12 wards to Craig.
Craig praised her team, saying “our campaign knocked on thousands and thousands of doors.”
“We worked hard for every vote and tonight we know that our hard work paid off,” she said.
Photo — Joyce Craig on election night in Manchester.
Turnout this year was slightly more than the 20,000 voters who cast ballots in 2015.
Craig is the first Democrat in 14 years to win a Manchester mayoral election, which while officially nonpartisan, is in reality a partisan showdown. Bob Baines was the last Democrat to run the Queen City.