As Bouley wins fourth term as Concord mayor, four newcomers join city council
Councilor Amanda Grady Sexton hugs Liz Blanchard as several city councilors celebrate their victorious campaigns with re-elected Mayor Jim Bouley at O Steaks & Seafood in Concord on Tuesday, November 5, 2013.
(WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)
Re-elected Mayor Jim Bouley offers brief congratulations to city councilors celebrating their victorious campaigns at O Steaks & Seafood in Concord on Tuesday, November 5, 2013.
(WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)
Councilor Fred Keach celebrates his successful campaign with re-elected Mayor Jim Bouley and several other city councilors at O Steaks & Seafood in Concord on Tuesday, November 5, 2013.
(WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)
Concord Mayor Jim Bouley won a fourth term yesterday in a landslide over two challengers.
Four newcomers will join the city council in January. Gail Matson unseated incumbent Dick Patten in Ward 8. Byron Champlin won by a large margin in Ward 4, where current At-Large Councilor Michael DelloIacono finished in third place. Allan Herschlag was elected to an open seat in Ward 2, and Brent Todd took a commanding lead in a race to replace retiring Councilor Liz Blanchard.
Councilors Amanda Grady Sexton and Fred Keach won two at-large council seats by a large margin, and Councilor Jan McClure held onto her seat in Ward 3 against two challengers, including Ward 2 Councilor Jennifer Kretovic.
Though this fall’s election had more candidates than in recent years, the council will remain largely the same as last term. Eleven incumbents will return to the table, including two at-large councilors whose terms do not end this year.
Eight of the 23 candidates in contested races had said they were motivated to run by disagreement with a controversial council vote in September to accept a federal grant for a BearCat vehicle. None of the candidates who campaigned against the armored police vehicle was successful.
The city clerk’s office said 15.4 percent of the city’s registered voters cast ballots yesterday, a bit less than the 2011 election’s 15.5 percent turnout.
Bouley, who has been mayor since 2007, earned 83 percent of the vote. He said last night that he is “truly humbled” to win another term.
“I think that truthfully, it’s bigger than just one individual,” the mayor said by phone from a celebration with friends and fellow councilors at O Steaks & Seafood. “I think really it’s a nice thing in recognition that our city council has done a good job over the last six years, that we have been financially responsible, that we have, I think, been able to move forward with projects that were important to the city.”
Mayoral candidate John Cook, who last ran against Bouley in 2011, earned 10 percent of the vote. He did not return a message left last night.
A third mayoral candidate, Chris Booth, ran on a promise to stop a BearCat from arriving in Concord and received 7 percent of the vote.
“I thank everyone who did vote for me, and I am sure that I will do better next time,” Booth said by email last night.
Incumbents win at-large
In the six-way race for two at-large city council seats, Amanda Grady Sexton earned 2,767 votes, and Fred Keach finished second with 2,290 votes. They will serve four-year terms representing the entire city.
Grady Sexton, who has served two terms as the Ward 4 city councilor, said last night that she wanted to thank the voters.
“I intend to work very hard over the next four years with a continued focus on constituent services,” said the 34-year-old Beacon Street resident.
Keach has served three terms as the Ward 10 city councilor, but he did not run in a contested race until this fall.
“I’m thankful that the voters came out and voted the way they did,” he said. “Honestly, I think they made two good choices. It was a race that I thought overall went well. . . . I really think that particularly with local elections, the focus needs to be on issues and not personalities.”
Samantha Clattenburg finished third in the at-large race, with 895 votes.
“I’m proud of myself,” Clattenburg said last night. “I’m new to politics, and honestly, if you look at it dollar-for-dollar, my return on investment is better.”
Clattenburg, 40, got into the race after the city council voted to accept a federal grant and purchase a BearCat armored vehicle. But, she said, she plans to stay involved in city politics.
“The future is bright,” she said. “Who knows?”
Scott Welch, another at-large candidate who opposed the city council’s September vote to accept the BearCat, finished fourth in the six-candidate field with 583 votes.
He termed the results “as expected,” adding, “It’s pretty tough to unseat incumbents when the turnout is so low. There really wasn’t a lot of excitement on the ballot this year.”
Welch said he probably won’t run for the council again.
Timothy Willis of Thorndike Street finished fifth in the at-large race with 261 votes. Last night, he said he was disappointed with voter turnout, media coverage and the city’s effort to educate voters.
“I expected to lose,” he said. “But I think because the city in general, and I’m not pointing towards . . . one candidate or entity, but I don’t think they really do enough to promote voter awareness.”
Josh VanBuskirk earned 163 votes in the at-large race. He filed to run based on his opposition to the BearCat but later looked into removing his name from the ballot and did not actively campaign.
Todd takes Penacook
Brent Todd had a commanding victory in a three-way race to represent Penacook. He earned a 132-vote margin over Adam Czarkowski, who finished second.
Todd will replace Councilor Liz Blanchard, who decided to step down this year after holding the seat since 2002 and announced that she would support Todd.
“I want to thank the Ward 1 voters,” Todd said last night. “I’m really honored by their confidence in me and look forward to serving them as their city councilor for Ward 1,” he said.
Czarkowski, a 35-year-old Rhodora Court resident, finished second with 114 votes, versus Todd’s 246 votes. Czarkowski last ran for the city council seat representing Penacook in 2011 and lost a close race to Blanchard.
Last night, he said he was “not overly surprised, given the fact that (Todd) had every major endorsement.
“I kind of felt that my expectations were tempered, and I’m just happy that the number of people that did show up for me showed up today. . . . I just wish him lots of luck as the new councilor.”
Cassandra Rasmussen, 30, of Lilac Street was not involved in city government before she filed to run this fall. She received 49 votes yesterday.
“I will see everybody in 2015,” she said last night, vowing to run again for the Ward 1 seat.
Herschlag wins Ward 2
Allan Herschlag will become the next Ward 2 city councilor. He won 70 percent of the votes in a two-way race with Tim Bauman.
Herschlag, a 63-year-old retired city employee and high school coach, has long attended council meetings and followed city government. This year was his fifth run for city council.
“I have to say I’m both appreciative and humbled by the support I have received, and while this has been my most stressful campaign, it has also been a very rewarding month and a half, and that is because of my opponent, Tim Bauman,” Herschlag said. “We both respected each other as candidates and that made for a great campaign.”
Bauman earned 95 votes, while Herschlag finished with 224.
Bauman, 51, lives on Primrose Lane and was motivated to run by the city council’s vote to acquire a BearCat. He said last night that he was disappointed with the results, but complimented Herschlag.
“Allan was an exceedingly strong candidate,” Bauman said. “He’s run several times. So while I can be disappointed, I can’t be too surprised.”
McClure keeps Ward 3 seat
Redistricting caused an unusual race between two incumbents in Ward 3, where Jan McClure earned a sixth term.
McClure finished ahead of Ward 2 Councilor Jennifer Kretovic by a 49-vote margin.
Kretovic, who was elected in Ward 2 in 2011, now lives in Ward 3 due to redistricting. She filed to run in her new ward this fall against McClure, who has held her seat since 2003.
McClure said last night that she is grateful for voters’ support, while Kretovic vowed to stay involved in city government and run again in two years.
Rick Cibotti, a third candidate in Ward 3, earned 40 votes.
Champlin wins Ward 4
First-time candidate Byron Champlin won a council seat in Ward 4 with 315 votes, compared with 51 votes for Kevin Bloom and 49 for Michael DelloIacono.
“I feel very humbled by the outcome and by the faith that the voters of Ward 4 have placed in me,” Champlin said. “I’m going to work as hard as I can to justify that faith.”
As a councilor, Champlin said he hopes to continue his work with the city’s Economic Development Advisory Committee, of which he’s a member, and to make sure the Main Street redesign project disrupts local businesses as little as possible.
Neither DelloIacono nor Bloom returned calls requesting comments on the election results.
Bloom, a first-time candidate, ran on an anti-BearCat platform and said he hoped to make the election a referendum on the BearCat issue.
DelloIocono, who finished third, has served one four-year term as an at-large councilor. He recently purchased a home on Church Street and filed to run for a Ward 4 council seat after Grady Sexton chose to run citywide.
Matson unseats Patten
Dick Patten, a three-term incumbent, was defeated in Ward 8 yesterday as he finished in a distant third place and Gail Matson won his seat.
Matson won with a 10-vote margin over Dennis Soucy. Patten had 73 votes, compared with Matson’s 151 and Soucy’s 141.
Patten had initially said he would not seek re-election this fall, but filed to run after supporters organized a petition on his behalf. He did not appear at the polls to hold a sign or ask for votes yesterday and said he was home sick.
Incumbent councilors re-elected without opposition yesterday were Rob Werner in Ward 5, Allen Bennett in Ward 6, Keith Nyhan in Ward 7, Candace Bouchard in Ward 9 and Dan St. Hilaire in Ward 10. At-Large Councilors Steve Shurtleff and Mark Coen were not up for re-election yesterday; they were elected in 2011 to four-year terms.
(Kathleen Ronayne and Ben Leubsdorf contributed to this report. Laura McCrystal can be reached at 369-3312 or firstname.lastname@example.org .)