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Portsmouth elects Bob Lister mayor; Sen. Shaheen's daughter wins council seat

PORTSMOUTH - After more than 30 years serving the Portsmouth School District as an educator and administrator, Bob Lister had an academy named in his honor. He went on to serve two terms on the city council, including one as assistant mayor. Now, he will now serve as the city's mayor.

Lister beat out 22 other candidates for the top spot on the city council, receiving 2,691 votes according to preliminary election results released on Tuesday night. Nine seats on the city council were up for grabs.

Former state representative, state senator and lifelong resident Jim Splaine earned the position of assistant mayor with 2,528 votes, followed by newcomer Stefany Shaheen, daughter of U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, who received 2,330 votes.

Those three will be joined on the city council by incumbents Esther Kennedy (2,287), Brad Lown (1,851) and Christine Dwyer (1,848), Zelita Morgan (1,791), current Mayor Eric Spear (1,724) and incumbent Jack Thorsen (1,692).

On the school board, seven candidates vied for five seats on the board.

Nancy Novelline-Clayburgh, who served on the school board before serving on the city council, will return after receiving 2,792 votes. She will be joined by Leslie Stevens (2,121), Helene "Lennie" Mullaney (1,984), Thomas Martin (1,457) and Jeffrey Landry (1,320).

The contest for police commissioner was also hotly contested with newcomer Brenna Cavanaugh coming out the winner with 2,200 votes. Gerald Howe will also return to the commission after receiving 1,645, just beating out fellow incumbent John Russo who received 1,636 votes.

The race for seats on the fire commission saw Richard Gamester receiving 2,344 votes and Jennifer Mosher-Matthes receiving 2,313 votes.

Following his victory on Tuesday, Lister said he was overwhelmed, pleased and humbled.

"I appreciate the vote of confidence and will continue to work hard," Lister said.

He said the first task for the new council will be to prioritize the myriad issues facing the city. Near the top of Lister's list are the issue of growth in the city, the future of the city's wastewater treatment plant, and preserving the city's neighborhoods.

"That's a good start," he said.

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