Republican candidate for Manchester mayor Jay Ruais has raised more than $250,000, a number that political professionals say shows he is mounting a serious bid for the Queen City’s top job.

One Manchester political insider unaffiliated with any campaign called it “significant and impressive.”

In a statement, Ruais says he has knocked on more than 5,000 doors in his race to become the first Republican mayor of Manchester since Ted Gatsas in 2018.

“The outpouring of support from all over our city is humbling and a testament to our strength, message, and the hunger for change we hear about every single day,” Ruais said. “At nearly every one of the over 5,000 doors we’ve knocked, we have heard how crime, homelessness, underachieving schools, and higher taxes are stopping our city from reaching its full potential.

“This is a movement to take Manchester to even greater heights, and we will not stop until the job is done. These numbers are just the beginning. We will not be outworked,” Ruais added.

Three-term Democrat incumbent Mayor Joyce Craig announced last month she had formed an exploratory committee for a governor’s race in 2024. She will likely face Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington in their party’s primary. In the first six months of 2021, when she was running for reelection, Craig reported $290,000 raised.

Ruais’ ability as a political unknown to raise a similar amount of money is a sign the city’s major political players are open to a change in direction, insiders say.

“Running as a can-do ‘happy warrior’ that contrasts nicely with prior ‘doom and gloom’ city campaigns,” a longtime Manchester Republican activist told NHJournal. “Manchester has a number of challenges, but it also has a lot of proud residents who don’t like to see it dumped on, regardless of party.

“Jay is uniting Republicans, and it’s easy to see how his approach will appeal to conservative Democrats and independents this fall,” the activist said.

Ruais is the only Republican candidate in the race, while three Democrats are seeking their party’s nomination: Ward 2 Alderman Will Stewart, At-Large Alderman June Trisciani, and Ward 1 Alderman Kevin Cavanaugh.