By: NH1 News Political Director Paul Steinhauser
MANCHESTER – Two years ago this month Joyce Craig announced her candidacy for mayor of New Hampshire’s largest city.
Two years later, it’s a very safe bet that Craig will make a similar announcement later this month.
In 2015, Craig was Manchester’s Ward 1 alderman. She ended up coming in second in the city’s non-partisan primary that September, behind Republican incumbent Ted Gatsas and ahead of fellow Democrat and former alderman Patrick Arnold.
In November’s general election, Craig narrowly lost to the mayor in an election that was decided by a recount. Gatsas won a fourth term as Manchester mayor after defeating Craig by just 64 votes out of more than 20,000 cast.
If Craig had won, she would have become the city’s first ever female mayor.
Multiple Granite State Democrats in the know, who asked to remain anonymous to speak more freely, told NH1 News it’s pretty certain Craig will run for mayor again. And they say this time she most likely won’t face another high profile Democrat in the primary.
Although Manchester city elections are non-partisan, Democratic and Republican strategists and operatives are very much involved in the campaigns.
Republicans plugged into Queen City politics say it’s likely Gatsas will run for re-election.
Last year Gatsas ran for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, coming in third in a field with four major candidates. Then-executive councilor Chris Sununu won the Republican primary, and went on to win the general election.
Asked in an interview with NH1 News soon after last November’s election if he’d run for a fifth term as mayor, Gatsas said he’s “not ruling anything in or out.”
In an interview early this year with NH1 News, Gatsas was asked what his deciding factors would be for running for re-election.
The mayor answered “I can only tell you that as I’m walking around in grocery stores shopping and the compliments that I get from people every single day, it’s what’s most inspiring.”