Sullivan County attorney survives rare challenge

  • From left, Bill Quinn, Sullivan County Attorney Marc Hathaway, Bob Lovett, Claremont City Councilor Jim Contois and Joella Merchant campaign outside of the polling place for Wards 1 and 2 at Claremont Middle School in Claremont, N.H., on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to Alex Driehaus

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 11/10/2022 12:16:50 AM
Modified: 11/10/2022 12:16:30 AM

NEWPORT — Republican Marc Hathaway overcame a rare electoral challenge as Sullivan County’s chief prosecutor to win a 10th term in office in a race that highlighted sharply different approaches in combating drug crimes.

Hathaway, 67 and first elected to office in 1986, defeated Sullivan County chief public defender Jay Buckey, 38, 9,191 votes, or 54.12%, to 7,791 votes, or 45.88%, according to WMUR-TV.

Although not all votes have been tallied, the margin was enough to lead Buckey to call Hathaway on Wednesday morning to concede.

But Buckey nonetheless took solace in the election results, saying it showed that his signature campaign issue to establish a drug court program for people guilty of narcotics offenses may finally be getting a receptive audience in Sullivan County, the only county in New Hampshire not to have such a program.

(Drug court programs allow offenders to live in the community under supervision while they comply with court orders and rehabilitation programs to address their substance abuse issues).

“Definitely the results showed that people are open to a conversation, even many ways in a reddish county,” Buckey, a Democrat, told the Valley News on Wednesday, adding that a competitive race for the rarely challenge role brought renewed awareness fo “what the county attorney does.”

“Going up against (Hathaway) with that much name recognition and getting the result that we did shows people might be open to some different approaches in the future,” Buckey said.

Hathaway has been a steadfast opponent of a drug court program, arguing that the county’s own Transitional Re-entry and Inmate Life Skills (TRAILS) program — which requires drug offenders to remain incarcerated while in treatment — is successful in preventing recidivism.

Hathaway expressed respect for Buckey and how they were able to debate “a serious issue about policy without all the stuff going on today.”

“The race turned out to a referendum on drug court,” Hathaway acknowledged, explaining that was not initially going to be the focus of his platform “but that’s how the fight evolved.”

Still, Hathaway said the debate was good to have.

“This is a big issue for law enforcement, a big issue for corrections, a big issue for the defense bar, a big issue for the victims community, and it’s not a small matter for some members of the judiciary,” Hathaway said. “While the crucible of an election may not be the perfect venue to have these conversations, it’s certainly an appropriate venue.”

Contact John Lippman at

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