BRENTWOOD – The announcement by embattled County Attorney James Reams that he won't run for reelection this fall has prompted a longtime local prosecutor to begin testing the waters for his potential candidacy.
Michael DiCroce said on Wednesday that he will begin reaching out to Republican leadership over the next several days to gauge support for a possible campaign to become the next Rockingham County Attorney.
"I will certainly be contacting people this week to see where everybody stands," he said.
If DiCroce enters the race, he would face off with Salem police prosecutor Jason Grosky, who declared his candidacy last week.
Reams announced his decision on Tuesday to not seek another term in office, but to continue with his legal battle to clear his name and finish out his term.
It came nearly four months into his temporary suspension in the wake of a multi-faceted investigation into his office by the state Attorney General and U.S. Attorney.
"I am just hoping it wasn't a forced thing," DiCroce said about Reams' decision.
DiCroce has said previously he would only consider a run for Rockingham County Attorney if Reams – who has held the job since 1998 – decided not to run for re-election.
DiCroce currently prosecutes district court cases for six police departments in Rockingham County, including Chester, Northwood, Newmarket, Newfields, Greenland and Nottingham.
He worked as an assistant county attorney between 1991 and 1997. He last ran for county attorney in 1996, and lost in the Republican primary to Reams.
William Hart, Londonderry police chief, ultimately won the county attorney post in the general election.
DiCroce said he believes he has more trial experience than any other prosecutor in Rockingham County, having done more than 100 trials with a 70 percent conviction rate.
DiCroce said in the last 22 years, he accumulated management experience by operating his own business prosecuting for police departments, and heading up a jury trial program in district court.
He said that he would be able to train county prosecutors.
"I think the whole office would improve under my tenure," he said.
DiCroce contends that Grosky lacks the jury trial experience during his career as a Salem police prosecutor and an assistant district attorney in Massachusetts.
"I think I am qualified to run that office because of my experience," he said.
Grosky, who began prosecuting for Salem police five years ago, said it's not a surprise that others are now mapping out their political plans for a possible run. Grosky started his legal career as an assistant district attorney in Lynn, Mass., doing jury trials in an inner city environment.
"When I made my announcement last week, it was not done thinking or worrying about what anyone else was doing," Grosky said. "At the end of the day, I will put my record and reputation – be it as a prosecutor, with cooperating with law enforcement and in the community — up against anybody."email@example.com