Salem selectman candidates

Former Salem Police Chief Paul Donovan, left, and state Rep. Arthur Barnes participate in a candidates’ forum.

SALEM — State Rep. Arthur Barnes won a one-year selectman seat Tuesday, defeating former police chief Paul Donovan with 70 percent of the vote, Town Moderator Chris Goodnow said Wednesday.

Barnes said Wednesday he wanted to thank his supporters for turning out and holding signs in the cold weather.

“I had a cadre of faithful supporters who followed through with the task,” Barnes said.

He said he had not spoken with Donovan.

“From my perspective, it seemed like it was an honorable campaign based upon the issues, and I appreciate that,” Barnes said about Donovan’s candidacy.

Donovan thanked his supporters in an email to the New Hampshire Union Leader.

“I had several great volunteers who helped me and we ran a clean, honest campaign,” wrote the former chief. “I want to thank them.”

He also stated that he would look for other ways “to help my community, as 44 years of public service has become a way of life for me.”

The Union Leader reported on Monday that an investigation by the state Attorney General’s office into the police department has expanded to include a criminal probe involving Donovan. Senior Assistant Attorney General Geoffrey Ward notified Town Manager Chris Dillon and Civilian Administrator Brian Pattullo, who is currently overseeing the police department, of the investigation on Thursday.

Pattullo confirmed it and the Attorney General’s office provided a copy of the letter from Ward. The Attorney General’s office declined to comment further on the nature of the investigation.

Donovan learned of the probe Monday and said he would reach out to officials to cooperate in any reasonable way.

During the campaign, Donovan and Barnes, both Republicans, agreed on several issues — such as the importance of the town’s road construction and maintenance program, and reserving water rights for the upcoming Southern NH Regional Water Project.

They differed on how a new police chief should be selected.

Donovan said the community should have some input on the selection process, but Barnes said that it is solely the purview of the town manager.