BERLIN, N.H. (AP) — A mayoral candidate in the city of Berlin, New Hampshire, who was a pastor and community leader has died of a COVID-19-related illness.
Robert Haynes, 54, died on Wednesday at Concord Hospital, the Bryant Funeral Homes in Berlin said.
Haynes had been in the hospital for over 20 days, with much of that time in the Intensive Care Unit. His daughter said he had developed COVID-19-related pneumonia. She declined to comment Friday on whether he had been vaccinated against the virus.
Haynes and his wife, Wendy Haynes, were co-pastors of the Harvest Christian Fellowship Church in Berlin since 2014. They ran the Feeding Hope Food Pantry and Community Cafe.
Robert Haynes was part of a group called Berlin Prosperity that was running for local offices, including City Council and the school board. The group's platform emphasized growth in the city's schools and businesses, and historic preservation.
“His desire when running for Mayor was to be a voice for those who felt unheard," his daughter, Savannah Nemiccolo, said in a statement. “He was always a man to sit and listen to people’s hearts, concerns, and ideas. At the time of his passing, he was pursuing his desire to see a more prosperous Berlin. He was ready to step up and step into the role of Mayor."
She added that her father “would not want his death to be seen as defeat but instead, he would want it to spark a fire within us to fight for change and to step into the roles needed to make those changes a reality."
Haynes was running against incumbent Mayor Paul Grenier, who is seeking a seventh, two-year term. The elections are being held on Nov. 2.
Grenier released a statement saying, “We are holding the family, friends and members of Pastor Robert Haynes’s congregation in our hearts as they mourn the loss of their loved one."