Warren easily makes it to final election in Newton, Lantigua wins preliminary vote in Lawrence

Incumbents Setti D. Warren of Newton, William Lantigua of Lawrence, and Carlo DeMaria Jr. of Everett were the decisive first-place finishers in preliminary mayoral elections Tuesday.

Warren, who is seeking his second four-year term as Newton’s mayor, picked up 4,265 votes, compared with 1,371 for Alderman Ted Hess-Mahan, 359 for Thomas Sheff, and 128 for Jacqueline M. Sequeira. Warren and Hess-
Mahan will face off in November.

In Everett, DeMaria outpaced two opponents, collecting 3,130 votes, compared with 1,624 for Alderman Robert Van Campen and 607 for Alderwoman Millie J. Cardello. DeMaria and Van Campen will meet in the November election.

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Despite a turbulent first term, Lantigua had a strong night in Lawrence, earning 5,725 votes, compared with 2,799 for his nearest rival in a six-way field, Councilor at Large Daniel Rivera. The two will meet in the final election.

Eliminated were state Representative Marcos A. Devers, with 1,907 votes; Juan Manny Gonzalez, a Lawrence firefighter and first-time candidate, with 1,058; James Patrick O’Donoghue, a first-time candidate, with 305 votes; and Nestor DeJesus with 165.

In an unexpected result in Amesbury, first-time mayoral candidate C. Kenneth Gray took first place in a four-way preliminary, outpacing four-term incumbent Thatcher W. Kezer III 977 votes to 827. James Thivierge, a former selectman, had 45 votes, and first-time candidate Jeff Hoover, 39.

Across the state, preliminary municipal elections were held in 18 communities, with mayoral races featured in at least nine of them.

“I’m honored that I got such strong support from the residents of Newton,” Warren said. “I think it really reflects their confidence in the extraordinary work that we’ve done to move Newton forward. We changed the tone and tenor and came together and made the tough decisions to get our financial house in order and to invest in education, public safety, and infrastructure.”

Warren, who made history when he became Newton’s first African-American mayor four years ago, has campaigned on his record, including establishing a capital spending plan, securing voter passage of a tax increase to rebuild schools, and reaching contract settlements with all Newton’s unions.

He faced criticism during the preliminary for not being sufficiently transparent and for his decision to run for US Senate early in his term.

The race in Everett has generated extra interest because it comes as the city is engaged in a high-profile competition to land a casino. The election also was the first under a new charter that extends the mayor’s term to four years and replaces the bicameral City Council with a one-branch body.

Lantigua, who could not be reached following Tuesday’s returns, won the mayor’s seat in Lawrence in 2009 when he bested nine others to become the state’s first elected Latino mayor.

But his first term has been tumultuous, involving state and federal investigations and two recall bids. Most recently, state officials sued Lantigua, alleging that he and his campaign staff committed campaign funding violations.

“We built a coalition of people who wanted to make the city better, people from all over the city,” Rivera said.

“Fifty percent of the people who came out to vote today went out to vote against the mayor, and 20,000 people stayed home,” Rivera noted. “We are going to try to earn the votes of all the people who voted against the mayor and the votes of the people who didn’t come out to vote.”

In Brockton, two-term Mayor Linda M. Balzotti topped a field of four contenders, picking up 3,853 votes, compared with 3,035 for School Committee member Bill Carpenter, 1,355 for Councilor Christopher MacMillan, and 463 for Ronald Matta, who lost to Balzotti two years ago. Balzotti and Carpenter advance to the final.

“I am very pleased with the outcome, and I’m very thankful to all the residents who came out to vote,” said Balzotti, the city’s first female mayor. “We know we have some work to do, and we know where we need to do the work. And starting tomorrow morning, we will begin to do that work.”

Mayors Scott D. Galvin of Woburn and Kimberley L. Driscoll of Salem both easily outpaced their challengers in three-way preliminaries.

Galvin, seeking his third two-year term, picked up 3,818 votes to 1,895 for local philanthropist John Flaherty and 145 for former state representative Patrick Natale. Galvin and Flaherty will compete in the final.

Driscoll, who is seeking a third four-year term, gathered 2,577 votes to 404 for political newcomer Cedric Ashley Jr. and 294 for Kenneth Sawicki, who lost to Driscoll in 2009. Driscoll and Ashley will vie in the final.

In Newburyport, two-term Mayor Donna D. Holaday narrowly outpolled two challengers, picking up 1,496 votes to 1,355 for Richard E. Sullivan Jr. and 1,302 for Ward 2 Councilor Gregory D. Earls. Holaday will square off in the final with Sullivan, who is a son of the late mayor Richard E. Sullivan, and brother of Christopher Sullivan, a former city councilor and interim mayor.