Mark Brave, a Democrat from Dover, defeated Republican Paul Callaghan of Rochester in Tuesday’s general election for the position of Strafford County Sheriff. Brave has now become the first Black sheriff in New Hampshire’s history.
In a comment following his victory, Brave expressed his gratitude to the voters and his feelings towards being the first Black man to be elected to the position.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet that I will be the first Black Sheriff in New Hampshire’s history. It’s something I feel should have happened a long time ago, but I’m honored that I will be the person to pave the way,” said Brave. “And I will be a Law Enforcement leader for all residents of Strafford County regardless of their party affiliation.”
Brave is 35 years old and is a current lieutenant in the Sheriff’s Office. The Dover resident has worked in law enforcement for over 10 years and will assume his new position on Jan. 1. Brave’s platform of community-centered law enforcement was something that he cited when asked why he was running the morning of the election.
“I spent a lot of time coming home venting to my kids about the injustices in law enforcement and trying to get the community more involved,” he explained.
Callaghan, 56, ran as the Republican nominee for the position and each candidate had nothing but kind words for the other. Brave respected the way his opposition operated a fair campaign.
“We ran a clean race and we showed you can still get your point across in a respectable manner without any mud-slinging,” he noted.
Callaghan is a current lieutenant and prosecutor for the Strafford County Sheriff Office (SCSO). He’s worked in law enforcement for upwards of 30 years.
Callaghan felt confident in the work he had put into his election prior to the votes being counted. On Tuesday afternoon he noted that he thought the voter turnout was “fantastic” and explained that he felt he had done all he could do to win.
“I feel good about what I’ve done. I’m confident that the voters will take a good look and compare our records and achievements, and they will support me,” said Callaghan.
The republican nominee conceded the race to Brave on Wednesday morning after the unofficial results showed a deficit of more than 7,000 votes. Brave held a lead of 36,857 to 29,611 over Callaghan.
In other Strafford County races, many candidates ran unopposed.
Thomas P. Velardi was reelected as the Strafford County Attorney as he ran unopposed in the Nov. 3 election. Velardi has been in the position since 2008.
Pamela J. Arnold ran unopposed and was elected to another term to be the Strafford County Treasurer.
Catherine A. Berube will be remaining in the same position that she has held for the past six years. She will be serving her fourth term after running unopposed for the position of Register of Deeds.
Luz Bay was elected to the position of Register of Probate, also running unopposed on Tuesday.
The three County Commissioners elected included Deanna Rollo, Robert J. Watson and George Maglaras – each ran unopposed and will serve a two-year term.