Incumbent mayors fall in Framingham, Gloucester, Westfield
DeMaria hangs on in Everett; Nicholson wins in Lynn; DePena declares victory in Lawrence
SEVERAL INCUMBENT MAYORS across Massachusetts – in Framingham, Gloucester, and Westfield – took a drubbing Tuesday night, losing their seats to challengers. Newcomers also scored victories in open mayoral contests in Lawrence, Lynn, Holyoke, Somerville, and North Adams.
In Framingham, Charlie Sisitsky, a 76-year-old former city councilor and longtime civic leader, defeated Yvonne Spicer, 59, who was elected four years ago as Framingham’s first mayor, when Framingham switched from a town to city government.
Spicer was the first Black woman popularly elected to a mayoral post in Massachusetts. But, as CommonWealth reported, she did not get along well with the City Council and alienated other city leaders. Sisitsky ran on his experience as a municipal manager, including working for two decades as Natick’s public works director. Spicer called Sisitsky to concede less than an hour after the polls closed, though results were not yet available from the City Clerk’s office.
In Westfield, the second run was the charm for retired police captain Michael McCabe, who defeated incumbent Mayor Don Humason two years after Humason narrowly defeated him.
In Gloucester, Greg Verga, a 53-year-old real estate agent, beat incumbent Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken with 58 percent of the vote, 5,829 to 4,047.
Romeo Theken was elected to the job in 2015 after 14 years on the city council. But her tenure was marred by complaints from city officials. The harbormaster accused her of creating a toxic work environment, while health officials said Theken tried to cut the line to get a COVID vaccine.
Verga spent eight years on the Gloucester School Committee and six on the City Council. He ran on a platform of “reviving a sense of professionalism” at City Hall and being a more transparent and collaborative leader.
In Everett, however, Mayor Carlo DeMaria bucked the trend and narrowly hung onto his seat, winning 51 percent of the vote against attorney Fred Capone, according to unofficial results.
DeMaria was first elected mayor in 2007. On the campaign trail, he touted his record reducing crime and spearheading the city’s capital improvement plan, which included negotiating a host community agreement with the Wynn casino. But his tenure has been controversial. In 2014, the Boston Globe reported that several women accused DeMaria of sexual harassment, claims DeMaria denied. In recent weeks, he became embroiled in lawsuits related to a real estate deal he conducted with the Everett city clerk.
Other incumbents managed to hold on to their seats, In Attleboro, incumbent mayor Paul Heroux cruised to a third-term victory over Todd McGhee by a margin of 4,493-2,351. Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty won reelection with 60 percent of the vote. Fall River Mayor Paul Coogan defeated City Council President Cliff Ponte by a margin of 62-38 percent. And Amesbury Mayor Kassandra Gove defeated her challenger, Rep. Jim Kelcourse, by a margin of 3,611-2,034.
A number of communities selected new mayors, with several historic “firsts.”
Holyoke voters selected Joshua Garcia to become the city’s first Latino mayor, after Mayor Alex Morse stepped down after a decade to take another job.
Garcia, the Blandford town administrator, was previously the municipal services manager for the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission and a property manager for the Holyoke Housing Authority. He spent three years serving on the Holyoke fire commission and sat on the school committee for a term. According to unofficial results, Garcia defeated city councilor Michael Sullivan with 56 percent of the vote.
North Adams elected Jennifer Macksey as its first female mayor, after incumbent mayor Tom Bernard did not seek reelection. Macksey is assistant superintendent of operations and finance at the North Berkshire School Union and a former treasurer of North Adams. She defeated Lynette Bond 1,674-1,478.
In Somerville, unofficial results indicated City Councilor Katjana Ballantyne defeated fellow City Councilor Will Mbah to become the city’s next mayor, replacing Joe Curtatone. Mbah, an immigrant from Cameroon, came in first in the four-person preliminary election but in the two-person final Ballantyne prevailed by a margin of 56-38.In Lynn, voters elected Jared Nicholson their next mayor, replacing Thomas McGee. Nicholson is a member of the school committee, a law professor at Northeastern University, and a graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law. He defeated Darren Cyr, a 16-year veteran of the city council and its current president, by a margin of 7,962-4532.
In Newburyport, the race for mayor was extremely tight. Unofficial results indicate school committee member Sean Reardon won, finishing just 22 votes ahead of Charlie Tontar, a member of the city council and an associate professor of economics at Merrimack College.