By Shira Schönberg and Bruce Mohl

Elections, politics in Massachusetts
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Sep 14, 2021

The incumbent mayors suffered a dismal blow in the Framingham and Gloucester primaries on Tuesday evening, but garnered enough votes to make it to the November finals.

Yvonne Spicer, Framingham’s first mayor and one of the most prominent black elected in the state, fell far behind longtime electoral officer and former city councilor Charlie Sisitsky and received only 1,938 votes against 4,401 from Sisitsky, according to unofficial results from the city clerk’s office. Framingham Source reported that Sisitsky won 16 out of 18 districts. The business owner Carlos Valadares came third by far. Only 17 percent of Framingham voters cast their vote.

In Gloucester, Greg Verga, a former school committee and city council member, won 50 percent of the vote in the six-person mayor’s race. The incumbent Sefatia Romeo Theken, who has been mayor since 2015, is in second place with 29 percent of the vote. Turnout was low, with nearly 29 percent of registered voters casting their vote.

In Somerville and Lynn, two parishes where incumbent mayors are stepping down, the race was close. In the race to succeed longtime Mayor Joe Curtatone in Somerville, unofficial results showed that three candidates received between 4,000 and 4,500 votes. Councilors Will Mbah and Katjana Ballantyne narrowly ousted Mary Cassesso, executive director of the Cambridge Health Alliance to win seats in the November election. Mbah got 4,498 votes, Ballantyne 4,162 and Cassesso 4,083. In fourth place was the independent businessman Billy Tauro, who supported former President Donald Trump and received 2,215 votes.

The turnout was low, with only 15,000 voters voting in the mayoral campaign, or 25 percent of registered voters in Somerville.

In Lynn, school committee member Jared Nicholson took first place in the race to succeed Thomas McGee with 3,220 votes, followed by City Council President Darren Cyr with 2,593 votes. School committee member Michael Satterwhite took third place with 2,286 votes and did not make it to the final.

Most of the other mayoral elections on Tuesday evening ruled the term. In Salem, Mayor Kim Driscoll, up for her fifth term, easily landed a spot on the November vote and received 60 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results from the Salem City Clerk’s office. Driscoll will meet councilor and former city planner Steve Dibble, who received 37 percent. The painter Frank Perley only got 2 percent and will not make the general election. 6,845 ballots were cast, only 21.5 percent of the registered voters in Salem.

In Haverhill, incumbent Mayor James Fiorentini easily crossed to victory with 56 percent of the vote. Alderman Colin LePage got 25 percent and will also appear on the November election, while Cop Guy Cooper took third place and will not appear. First elected in 2005, Fiorentini is the longest-serving mayor in Haverhill history. The turnout was just 11 percent.

Spicer was the first mayor of Framingham, which only became a city in 2018. She previously worked as a school administrator and vice president of advocacy and educational partnerships at the Museum of Science in Boston. At times Spicer had a downright hostile relationship with city councilors, and during her tenure there were significant fluctuations in the state government.

Shira Schönberg is a reporter for CommonWealth magazine. Shira previously worked for Springfield Republican / MassLive.com for more than seven years, covering state politics and elections to Elizabeth Warren and Governor Charlie Baker. Shira won the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Award for Excellence in Legal Journalism in 2018, and multiple stories were recognized by the New England Newspaper and Press Association. Shira covered the 2012 New Hampshire presidential primary for the Boston Globe. Prior to that, she worked for the Concord (N.H.) Monitor, where she wrote about the state government, town hall, and Barack Obama’s 2008 New Hampshire primary. Shira holds a Masters degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Shira Schönberg is a reporter for CommonWealth magazine. Shira previously worked for Springfield Republican / MassLive.com for more than seven years, covering state politics and elections to Elizabeth Warren and Governor Charlie Baker. Shira won the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Award for Excellence in Legal Journalism in 2018, and multiple stories were recognized by the New England Newspaper and Press Association. Shira covered the 2012 New Hampshire presidential primary for the Boston Globe. Prior to that, she worked for the Concord (N.H.) Monitor, where she wrote about the state government, town hall, and Barack Obama’s 2008 New Hampshire primary. Shira holds a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce joined CommonWealth from the Boston Globe where he spent nearly 30 years in a variety of positions in business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the office manager of the Globe’s State House in the late 1980s. He also reported for Globe’s Spotlight team and won a Loeb Award in 1992 for reporting on conflicts of interest in the state pension system. In 1994 he was the political editor of the Globe and subsequently covered consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped build the magazine’s website and has written on a variety of topics with a particular focus on politics, taxation, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

Bruce Mohl is editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce joined CommonWealth from the Boston Globe where he spent nearly 30 years in a variety of positions in business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the office manager of the Globe’s State House in the late 1980s. He also reported for Globe’s Spotlight team and won a Loeb Award in 1992 for reporting on conflicts of interest in the state pension system. In 1994 he was the political editor of the Globe and subsequently covered consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped build the magazine’s website and has written on a variety of topics with a particular focus on politics, taxation, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

The incumbent mayor was also overwhelmed by her challenger. Spicer raised $ 50,000 for their campaign in 2021 and has spent nearly $ 30,000 so far. Sisitsky raised $ 77,000 and spent $ 33,000 this year. Valadares spent less than $ 3,000.

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Ref: https://commonwealthmagazine.org