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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Manchester mayor Gatsas bows out of race for governor

CONCORD – Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas’ decision not to run for governor as a Republican this fall takes out of the picture a prominent, potentially self-financed candidate.

Gatsas said he seriously explored the idea but he and his wife, Cassandra, decided his top priority was to serve out his two-year term as mayor of the state’s largest city.

“At the very heart of this decision is my deep and unwavering affection for the Queen City and my commitment to the success of her future,” Gatsas said in a statement. “Since I took my first oath of office in January 2010, I have worked hard to build a better Manchester; I remain true to this mission by working each and every day on behalf of the residents of Manchester.”

The move is particularly good news for the GOP front-runner in the race, Ovide Lamontagne of Manchester; Gatsas’ own political base would have tangled with Lamontagne for territorial advantage.

“I admire Ted’s resolve in committing to serve his full two-year term as our mayor, and taking on the challenging work that lies ahead,” Lamontagne said in a statement hours after Gatsas first disclosed his decision.

Socially conservative activist Kevin Smith of Litchfield is the other declared GOP candidate. Windham businessman Steve Kenda has also said he’s seriously exploring a run.

The announced Democratic candidates to replace a retiring Gov. John Lynch are former Senate Majority Leader Maggie Hassan of Exeter and former Barrington state Sen. Jackie Cilley.

Gatsas had said while seeking a second term as mayor last year that he would serve out his entire term.

But within weeks after winning that re-election bid, Gatsas hedged and confirmed he was looking at running for governor.

Kevin Landrigan can reached at 321-7040 or klandrigan@nashuatelegraph.com; also check out Kevin Landrigan (@KLandrigan) on Twitter and don’t forget The Telegraph’s new, interactive live feed at www.nashuatelegraph.com/topics/livefeed.