Lynn City Councilor Judith Flanagan Kennedy upset incumbent Mayor Edward J. Clancy Jr. by 27 votes to win the Lynn mayor's race, squeaking by with a tally of 8,043 to 8,016 votes.
Kennedy, a 10-year councilor at large, received 49.94 percent of the vote, while Clancy received 49.78 percent of the vote, according to election results.
Clancy, an eight year incumbent, could not be reached for comment last night. Kennedy, a 10-year councilor-at-large, claimed a cautious victory, saying she expects a recount.
"A win is a win," Kennedy said by telephone from her election night party at the Franco American Hall. "With a race this close, we're probably in recount territory. We will take 27 votes and see what happens."
Kennedy will be the first woman mayor elected in Lynn, the state's 9th largest city with almost 90,000 residents. She upset Clancy in the primary by winning as a write-in candidate by 211 votes. A rancorous campaign ensued, with Clancy touting his long service as a Democrat, having served as a state senator and state representative from the city.
Kennedy, 47, a lawyer who works part-time as a driver for the MBTA Ride program, is a Republican. She drew strong support from city unions, particularly firefighters who publicly sparred with Clancy. The two publicly sparred over issues of taxes and residency laws. The campaign grew heated in recent weeks, with Kennedy alleging Clancy violated state election laws when he sent a flier to Lynn voters with a copy of her signature attached, indicating she supported raising property taxes. The Essex District Attorney's office yesterday ruled there was no violation.
Kennedy's campaign manager, Dennis M. Liberge, was forced to resign, after Kennedy became aware of his conviction on drug charges 17 years ago in Maine. But Kennedy still credited her victory to the work of her campaign staff. "I had the best group of people around me," she said.
A total of 16,104 votes were cast, or 33.1 percent of the city's registered voters, according to election results.
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