Manchester Local 2320 member Kevin Cavanaugh, with campaign staff and supporters on the steps of the New Hampshire state capitol after filing official paperwork declaring his candidacy. 

This is an update to a story originally published on May 25.

Kevin Cavanaugh won the Democratic primary on June 6, the first step in his bid for a seat in the New Hampshire state Senate. 

Cavanaugh addressing the New Hampshire AFL-CIO convention in early May. He faces a primary election on June 6.
Photos courtesy Friends of Kevin Cavanaugh.

Now Manchester, N.H., Local 2320 Assistant Business Manager Cavanaugh will face Republican David Boutin, who held the seat from 2009-2016, in the general election to be held on July 25.

Cavanaugh pledged to stand up for the working and middle class values that carried him to victory in the primary. “Voters I’ve spoken with over the last two months have made it clear that they appreciate my strong support for public schools, first responders, and fighting the opioid crisis,” he said.

“Brother Cavanaugh cleared his first hurdle to be a voice for working people in the New Hampshire Senate, and we’re proud of him for that,” said International President Lonnie R. Stephenson. “I’m confident that his brothers and sisters in the IBEW will go to work for him between now and July 25 and help deliver a victory for the values we all share.”

Alongside brothers and sisters from Local 2320 and volunteers from all over the district, Cavanaugh has been knocking on doors, holding house parties and attending to the other duties of a candidate in a state famous for its retail style of politics.

“I really love getting out and meeting people,” said Cavanaugh, who is a year and a half into his first term as an alderman from New Hampshire’s largest city, Manchester. “I’m a guy from a blue-collar background. I identify with people who work for a living, and I want to be their voice in the state Senate.”

The 16th Senate district, which encompasses parts of Manchester and several towns to the north and east, is open because Scott McGilvray, former president of the New Hampshire National Education Association, passed away in office in March.

“Scott was a labor guy, and I think it’s important to have that perspective continue to be represented in Concord,” Cavanaugh said, referring to the state capital.

Because the job pays just $100 per year, the New Hampshire state Senate has often been jokingly called “The Millionaire’s Club,” because the only people who have traditionally been able to afford the time commitment are the independently wealthy and the self-employed.

“At the IBEW, I see the battles working people go through every day,” Cavanaugh said. “Someone gets cancer and the company wants to take away their health care because they’ve been out of work too long, or gets hurt on the job and their employer wants to reduce their benefits. I have a unique perspective that I can bring to the state Senate.”

New Hampshire government is currently under one-party rule, with a Republican governor and GOP majorities in both legislative chambers. Defending the Democratic seat in District 16 is an important first step to challenging those majorities in November 2018. In February, the state narrowly avoided passing harmful right-to-work legislation thanks to the defection of a handful of Republicans in the House.

“Running for elected office takes a gigantic personal sacrifice,” said International President Lonnie R. Stephenson, “but we hope more members around the U.S. and Canada will be willing to take that risk to stand up for working families.”

Members who’d like to help Brother Cavanaugh in the general election can visit his campaign site or a special fundraising page for more information.