CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- Republican Joe Kenney has won the special election to replace longtime Executive Councilor Ray Burton in New Hampshire's North Country by about 1,300 votes.
In a statement Wednesday morning, Democrat Michael Cryans conceded the race, saying he left a message for Kenney wishing him luck on the council.
Official results compiled by the New Hampshire Secretary of State shows Kenney defeated Cryans by a count of 21,351 to 20,084. The race was too close to call Tuesday night in the bid to represent the vast District 1 seat left vacant when Burton died in November.
"I would like to congratulate Joe Kenney on his election as Executive Councilor for District 1," said Gov. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat. "I also commend Mike Cryans for his efforts and for participating in New Hampshire's robust democratic process. Serving in the seat held for over three decades by Ray Burton is a special responsibility, and I look forward to working with Councilor-elect Kenney to achieve bipartisan progress and to ensure that the people and communities of northern New Hampshire are well-represented in Concord."
About 264,000 people live in the 108-town district that stretches from just north of Concord to the Canadian border and includes the White Mountains and the Lakes Region. Both men campaigned on a promise to continue the constituent service that was a hallmark of Burton's nearly four decades in office. They agreed that economic development and better roads and bridges are essential in the district.
Kenney, 53, is a former state representative and senator who ran for governor in 2008. He's spent 30 years in the Marines and reserves. Cryans, 63, has been a Grafton County commissioner for 17 years.
State Democratic Chairman Ray Buckley noted that the district has been in Republican hands for more than 50 years.