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Only one Republican running for local office in Portsmouth

Democratic primary necessary for House District 71


PORTSMOUTH — Hopefuls for public office in Portsmouth and at the statewide level filed papers to declare their candidacy by the 4 p.m. deadline on Wednesday, June 24.

The most striking bit of news is that only one Republican is running for either Town Council or School Committee — Keith Hamilton filed papers to run again for the council seat he's held for years.

A whopping four candidates are vying for the House District 71 seat, which is being vacated due to Rep. Dennis Canario’s recent announcement that he will not seek reelection. 

Declaring their intentions to run for the seat were two Democrats, John G. Edwards V and Michelle E. McGaw, which necessitates a Democratic primary in September. (Note: Ms. McGaw is the wife of Jim McGaw, editor of The Portsmouth Times.) 

Also running for the District 71 seat are Nathan J. Melvin, an Independent, and Amy E. Veri, a Republican.

Mr. Edwards, a Tiverton Town Council member, is the son of Rep. John G. Edwards IV, a Democrat who’s facing a challenge by Republican Christopher M. Borden for the District 70 seat. 

For House District 72, incumbent Rep. Terri-Denise Cortvriend (D) will be facing a primary opponent, Christopher T. Semonelli (D). Also throwing his hat in the ring is Kenneth Mendonça (R), a former representative whom Re. Cortvriend defeated in 2018.

For Portsmouth Town Council, all six Democrat incumbents announced their intention to seek reelection, along with another member of their party, former council member Michael Buddemeyer, who didn’t run for reelection in 2018.

Mr. Hamilton, the lone Republican candidate, rounds out the field.

In the Portsmouth School Committee race, there are three seats up for grabs, as incumbents Allen Shers, Catherine Holtman, Frederick Faerber III and Thomas Vadney still have two more years left on their terms.

Declaring their candidacy for the three remaining seats on the school board were the Democratic incumbents: Chairwoman Emily A. Copeland, Karen Marlow McDaid, and Juan Carlos Payero. 

Here’s the full list of people who declared their candidacy:

General Assembly races

Senate District 11

James A. Seveney (D), incumbent

House District 69

• Susan R. Donovan (D), incumbent

• Ann L. Costa (R)

House District 70

• John G. Edwards IV (D), incumbent

• Christopher M. Borden (R)

House District 71

• John G. Edwards V (D) 

• Michelle E. McGaw (D) 

• Nathan J. Melvin (I)

• Amy E. Veri (R)

House District 72

• Terri-Denise Cortvriend (D), incumbent

• Kenneth Mendonça (R)

• Christopher T. Semonelli (D)

Local races

Town Council (7 seats)

• Daniela T.H. Abbott (D), incumbent

• Kevin M. Aguiar (D), incumbent

• Michael A. Buddemeyer (D)

• Keith E. Hamilton (R), incumbent

• Leonard B. Katzman (D), incumbent

• Andrew V. Kelly (D), incumbent

• J. Mark Ryan (D), incumbent

• Linda L. Ujifusa (D), incumbent

School Committee (3 seats available)

• Emily A. Copeland (D), incumbent

• Karen E. Marlow McDaid (D), incumbent

• Juan Carlos Payero (D), incumbent

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Matt Hayes, Portsmouth Times Publisher

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Scott Pickering

Scott Pickering has been on the East Bay Newspapers team for more than two decades, since starting as a reporter for the Sakonnet Times. He's been editor of most of the papers, was Managing Editor of all the papers for many years, and became General Manager in 2012. Today he can be found posting to, steering news coverage, writing editorials, talking to readers, working with the sales team, collaborating on design, or helping do whatever it takes to get the papers out the door. Reach him at