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Franklin write-in candidates unsuccessful; Merrifield wins another term

  • Supporters of Franklin mayor Ken Merrifield stand outside Franklin City Hall during the last minutes of open polling in Franklin on Tuesday, October 1, 2013. Supporters of mayoral candidate Glenn Morrill stood on the other side of the city hall entrance.<br/><br/>(WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)

    Supporters of Franklin mayor Ken Merrifield stand outside Franklin City Hall during the last minutes of open polling in Franklin on Tuesday, October 1, 2013. Supporters of mayoral candidate Glenn Morrill stood on the other side of the city hall entrance.

    (WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)

  • Franklin city council candidate Steve Barton talks with Franklin councilmember Charlie Cournoyer in front of the polling location at Franklin Middle School on election day Tuesday, October 1, 2013. <br/><br/>(WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)

    Franklin city council candidate Steve Barton talks with Franklin councilmember Charlie Cournoyer in front of the polling location at Franklin Middle School on election day Tuesday, October 1, 2013.

    (WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)

  • Franklin mayor Ken Merrifield stands outside the polling location at Franklin Middle School on election day Tuesday, October 1, 2013. <br/><br/>(WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)

    Franklin mayor Ken Merrifield stands outside the polling location at Franklin Middle School on election day Tuesday, October 1, 2013.

    (WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)

  • Candidates and supporters stand outside the polling location at Thompson Hal in Franklin on election day Tuesday, October 1, 2013. <br/><br/>(WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)

    Candidates and supporters stand outside the polling location at Thompson Hal in Franklin on election day Tuesday, October 1, 2013.

    (WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)

  • Franklin school board candidates Greg Husband (left) and Gwen Hall stand outside the polling location at Thompson Hall in Franklin on election day Tuesday, October 1, 2013. <br/><br/>(WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)

    Franklin school board candidates Greg Husband (left) and Gwen Hall stand outside the polling location at Thompson Hall in Franklin on election day Tuesday, October 1, 2013.

    (WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)

  • Kerry Rainville holds a sign supporting Franklin school board candidate Gwen Hall in front of Thompson Hall in Franklin on election day on Tuesday, October 1, 2013. <br/><br/>(WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)

    Kerry Rainville holds a sign supporting Franklin school board candidate Gwen Hall in front of Thompson Hall in Franklin on election day on Tuesday, October 1, 2013.

    (WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)

  • Franklin school board candidate Chuck Farmer stands in front of the polling location at Thompson Hall in Franklin on election day Tuesday, October 1, 2013.<br/><br/>(WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)

    Franklin school board candidate Chuck Farmer stands in front of the polling location at Thompson Hall in Franklin on election day Tuesday, October 1, 2013.

    (WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)

  • Franklin school board candidates Chad Carey, Gwen Hall and Greg Husband stand outside the polling location at Thompson Hall on election day Tuesday, October 1, 2013. <br/><br/>(WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)

    Franklin school board candidates Chad Carey, Gwen Hall and Greg Husband stand outside the polling location at Thompson Hall on election day Tuesday, October 1, 2013.

    (WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)

  • Franklin school board candidate Chuck Farmer's pickup truck parked at Thompson Hall in Franklin carries a large sign listing several write-in candidates on election day Tuesday, October 1, 2013.<br/><br/>(WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)

    Franklin school board candidate Chuck Farmer's pickup truck parked at Thompson Hall in Franklin carries a large sign listing several write-in candidates on election day Tuesday, October 1, 2013.

    (WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)

  • Franklin school board candidate Chuck Farmer drives away from the polling location at Thompson Hall in Franklin with a large sign listing several write-in candidates on election day Tuesday, October 1, 2013. <br/><br/>(WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)

    Franklin school board candidate Chuck Farmer drives away from the polling location at Thompson Hall in Franklin with a large sign listing several write-in candidates on election day Tuesday, October 1, 2013.

    (WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)

  • Tim Morrill, son of mayoral candidate Glenn Morrill, waves to drivers in front of Franklin City Hall on election day on Tuesday, October 1, 2013. <br/><br/>(WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)

    Tim Morrill, son of mayoral candidate Glenn Morrill, waves to drivers in front of Franklin City Hall on election day on Tuesday, October 1, 2013.

    (WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)

  • Franklin mayoral candidate Glenn Morrill stands with Franklin councilmember Scott Clarenbach in front of a polling station at Franklin Middle School on Tuesday, October 1, 2013. Clarenbach held a sign supporting Morrill's candidacy.<br/><br/>(WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)

    Franklin mayoral candidate Glenn Morrill stands with Franklin councilmember Scott Clarenbach in front of a polling station at Franklin Middle School on Tuesday, October 1, 2013. Clarenbach held a sign supporting Morrill's candidacy.

    (WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)

  • Franklin school board candidate Greg Husband (left) stands outside the polling location at Thompson Hall in Franklin on election day Tuesday, October 1, 2013. <br/><br/>(WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)

    Franklin school board candidate Greg Husband (left) stands outside the polling location at Thompson Hall in Franklin on election day Tuesday, October 1, 2013.

    (WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)

  • Franklin mayor Ken Merrifield stands outside the polling location at Franklin Middle School on election day Tuesday, October 1, 2013. <br/><br/>(WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)

    Franklin mayor Ken Merrifield stands outside the polling location at Franklin Middle School on election day Tuesday, October 1, 2013.

    (WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)

  • Franklin school board candidate Chuck Farmer drives away from the polling location at Thompson Hall in Franklin with a large sign listing several write-in candidates on election day Tuesday, October 1, 2013. <br/><br/>(WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)

    Franklin school board candidate Chuck Farmer drives away from the polling location at Thompson Hall in Franklin with a large sign listing several write-in candidates on election day Tuesday, October 1, 2013.

    (WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)

  • Supporters of Franklin mayor Ken Merrifield stand outside Franklin City Hall during the last minutes of open polling in Franklin on Tuesday, October 1, 2013. Supporters of mayoral candidate Glenn Morrill stood on the other side of the city hall entrance.<br/><br/>(WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)
  • Franklin city council candidate Steve Barton talks with Franklin councilmember Charlie Cournoyer in front of the polling location at Franklin Middle School on election day Tuesday, October 1, 2013. <br/><br/>(WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)
  • Franklin mayor Ken Merrifield stands outside the polling location at Franklin Middle School on election day Tuesday, October 1, 2013. <br/><br/>(WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)
  • Candidates and supporters stand outside the polling location at Thompson Hal in Franklin on election day Tuesday, October 1, 2013. <br/><br/>(WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)
  • Franklin school board candidates Greg Husband (left) and Gwen Hall stand outside the polling location at Thompson Hall in Franklin on election day Tuesday, October 1, 2013. <br/><br/>(WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)
  • Kerry Rainville holds a sign supporting Franklin school board candidate Gwen Hall in front of Thompson Hall in Franklin on election day on Tuesday, October 1, 2013. <br/><br/>(WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)
  • Franklin school board candidate Chuck Farmer stands in front of the polling location at Thompson Hall in Franklin on election day Tuesday, October 1, 2013.<br/><br/>(WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)
  • Franklin school board candidates Chad Carey, Gwen Hall and Greg Husband stand outside the polling location at Thompson Hall on election day Tuesday, October 1, 2013. <br/><br/>(WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)
  • Franklin school board candidate Chuck Farmer's pickup truck parked at Thompson Hall in Franklin carries a large sign listing several write-in candidates on election day Tuesday, October 1, 2013.<br/><br/>(WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)
  • Franklin school board candidate Chuck Farmer drives away from the polling location at Thompson Hall in Franklin with a large sign listing several write-in candidates on election day Tuesday, October 1, 2013. <br/><br/>(WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)
  • Tim Morrill, son of mayoral candidate Glenn Morrill, waves to drivers in front of Franklin City Hall on election day on Tuesday, October 1, 2013. <br/><br/>(WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)
  • Franklin mayoral candidate Glenn Morrill stands with Franklin councilmember Scott Clarenbach in front of a polling station at Franklin Middle School on Tuesday, October 1, 2013. Clarenbach held a sign supporting Morrill's candidacy.<br/><br/>(WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)
  • Franklin school board candidate Greg Husband (left) stands outside the polling location at Thompson Hall in Franklin on election day Tuesday, October 1, 2013. <br/><br/>(WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)
  • Franklin mayor Ken Merrifield stands outside the polling location at Franklin Middle School on election day Tuesday, October 1, 2013. <br/><br/>(WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)
  • Franklin school board candidate Chuck Farmer drives away from the polling location at Thompson Hall in Franklin with a large sign listing several write-in candidates on election day Tuesday, October 1, 2013. <br/><br/>(WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)

None of the write-in candidates in Franklin’s city elections saw victory last night, although Mayor Ken Merrifield’s and school board candidate Greg Husband’s challengers were not far behind.

“I’m relieved and I’m gratified that the people of Franklin have placed their confidence in me for another two years,” Merrifield said.

Merrifield bested challenger Glenn Morrill by about 50 votes, garnering 53 percent of voters’ support in an election that saw unusually high turnout for Franklin. In total, just shy of 1,000 ballots were cast, with turnout climbing above 20 percent. (Typically, turnout in Franklin’s elections hovers between 7 percent and 10 percent.) In school board races, Husband defeated write-in challenger Gwen Hall by just 11 votes. Thirty-eight voters also wrote in Hall’s name against incumbent Chad Carey, meaning she would have defeated Husband if those voters wrote her name in the spot she wanted. She does not plan on contesting the results.

“I know that it was very close but I’m very happy because I saw Franklin alive with a lot of interest and excitement for voting,” she said.

In the only officially contested race, school board member Steve Barton defeated incumbent Paul Trudel for a seat on the council by just five votes. Incumbent Councilors Tony Giunta and Ted Starkweather bested write-in challengers Jerry Audet and Marty Russo, respectively, and Doug Boyd also won another term. In school board races, Chad Carey defeated challenger Chuck Farmer, while Angela Carey (no relation) beat Carol Edmunds. Timothy Dow, who did not face a write-in opponent, was also elected to the school board.

In his fourth term, Merrifield said he’ll continue to advocate for approval of the Northern Pass project and look to bring more business into downtown Franklin. He also thinks the council’s relationship with the school board will drastically improve given the new faces coming in.

“I expect a tremendous change in the climate, the atmosphere, the cooperation between the two boards; I expect great things from this new relationship,” he said.

Morrill could not be reached for comment last night after the results were in. In Ward 3, his home ward, Morrill took in 44 more votes than Merrifield.

Trudel, who lost to Barton by five votes, said he needs to talk to the city clerk about the election results but will likely not ask for a recount. Despite his loss, he said he was glad to see so many people turn out to vote.

“It’s been my pleasure serving the people of Ward 3 and all of Franklin,” he said last night.

Barton, his challenger, said he is looking forward to working with the councilors to better the city of Franklin.

“I’m honored that the people selected me, though it wasn’t by a wide margin,” he said.

Many of the write-in candidates banded together and pitched themselves as a ticket at the polling places. Russo, for example, placed a giant wooden sign in the back of his red pickup truck highlighting all of the write-in candidates. He also had sample ballots available so people knew how to vote for write-in candidates. The write-in candidates only began coordinating after they all decided to run, he said.

“There was no cohesive effort, no meetings or anything till the last second,” Russo said. He picked up just 45 votes to Starkweather’s 285.

Likewise, school board candidates who filed formally to run held signs featuring each other’s names and supporting Merrifield. Councilors Trudel, Giunta and Starkweather, all facing challengers, held their own signs outside their polling places. Councilors Charlie Cournoyer and Bob Desrochers, not facing re-election, held signs at their polling places for Trudel and Merrifield, respectively. One councilor, Scott Clarenbach, stood at the polls in support of Morrill.

“I just don’t think we’re going in the right direction,” he said about his decision to support Merrifield’s challenger.

Some elected officials said they were disappointed that the write-in candidates came forward so late. Councilor George Dzujna said he would have liked for them to participate in the candidates forum last week, and school board member Tamara Feener thought their names should have been on the official ballots. Merrifield, for his part, said residents told him they wished they had more time to get information about the write-in candidates.

But across the polling places, nearly every candidate said they were happy to see so many residents come out to vote.

“It’s honestly real nice to see the turnout,” City Clerk Holly Burbank said.

Husband said he was glad that voters chose the four original candidates who filed to run for school board. Both he and Chad Carey have said they’d like to bring more transparency to the board. Husband has also accused several school board members and Superintendent Maureen Ward of violating laws and policies, and is glad to see candidates elected who will “comply with state law and policies and be open and transparent.”

“Our public, that’s what they want,” he said.

Husband also said he felt the campaigning by the write-in candidates was negative and focused too much on personalities.

Chad Carey defeated his write-in opponent, Farmer, 217-80. He said he spoke with Farmer at the polls yesterday and that they agreed on many of the issues. In Ward 1, Angela Carey received 172 votes to Edmunds’s 72.

In a Ward 1 council race, Giunta, the city’s former mayor, defeated former councilor Jerry Audet by a wide margin of 273-67. Lawrence Hennessy was also elected to a one-year term as supervisor of the checklist in Ward 1.

(Kathleen Ronayne can be reached at 369-3309 or kronayne@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @kronayne.)

Legacy Comments2

Steve, the letter was posted on the Franklin page of facebook

I believe that the State of NH - Department of Education released a letter stating that all of the allegations of educator misconduct are unfounded. I am sure if anyone is interested in this information that they could contact the State or the Franklin School for a copy of the letter.

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