It used to be that once the polls closed interested citizens would sit listening to their radios for hours to find out what the results of the election were as each precincts results were tallied. Last night it took less than an hour to find out that Bob Correia's bid for a second term had come to an end.
As I listened on and off to WSAR's election coverage last night I was a little taken back by the sentiment that this was somehow completely unexpected. If you're really in the dark on how Bob possibly could have lost let me break it down for you.
Certainly Mayor Correia is not responsible for tough economic times and state cuts in local aid, but people do blame him for not doing more to 'cut from the top' and find areas of waste to cut from. People blame him for not working harder to find ways to preserve public safety workers and educators.
Also despite multiple statements of wanting to be a leader that works with others and unites the city, he really has done just the opposite. Several times Mayor Correia has shown that the only opinion he is interested is his own. He demonstrated this by single-handedly deciding to name 2 schools, by disregarding the will of over 7,000 voters, and most recently by clearly ignoring the will of the City Council to provide more funding to our school department.
Mayor Correia has done little to come off as anything but insensitive, arrogant, and imperialistic.
I'm not shocked but I am a little surprised.
Still, Mayor Correia finished 3rd, and less than 300 votes from making it into the final 2, why didn't he do more to win? The Mayor is sitting on a huge campaign war chest, where were the ads and the radio spots? I have to think he could have gotten those votes with a good advertising strategy.
So the final 2 are Cathy Ann Viveiros and Will Flanagan. Honestly I figured Cathy had an excellent shot for the final, but I didn't expect Flanagan to do so well. You have to give him credit for motivating 3000 people to vote for an unknown. I know lots of people are on board with Will, but I'm still at a loss to see why. Can he pull an upset in the final?
The City Council race also offered its fair share of surprises. Leo proved that not even supporting LNG can dent his popularity and the voters indicated that change is good but experience is better. I was surprised that Brad Kilby and Ray Mitchell came in second and third place respectively. With Ray, I can at least attribute it to a hard fought campaign, but I'm disappointed that the voters gave Kilby such an easy time of it. I like Brad and I don't have issues with him returning to the council, but I expect my candidates to work hard to tell me where they stand on the issues and Kilby just has not done that. I'm pleasantly surprised to see Eric Poulin in the top 5, while I thought Eric would do well I didn't expect him to finish 4th. (And BOO to the Herald News for saying he finished 5th and to WSAR for repeating it!) Brian Bigelow in 5th place also comes as quite a surprise. I didn't think Brian did much to distinguish himself, the voters thought differently. Just as surprising is Joe Camara finishing 8th. I figured some incumbents might take a beating, I didn't expect Joe to be one of them. And congratulations to Dave Dennis for cracking the top 9.
Out of the top 9, in 10th place is Mike Lund. Normally I would say an incumbent out of the top 9 probably means the end of his or her tenure on the council. However, Lund is pledging to work hard over the next couple of months and that and an obscene amount of money probably means he'll finish in the top 9. Finishing in 11th is Kris Bartley followed by Mike Miozza in the number 12 spot. (Oh, and the Herald had their vote totals wrong!) Both are in striking distance but will need to worker harder than ever to get a seat on the council.
The School Committee race has been a lackluster affair all year long, only one candidate was removed from consideration due to the small field of candidates running. It's noteworthy that Joe Martins finished in the top spot and that Rick Pavao did better than several incumbents.
Lefty's View: 13,901 of our city's residents voted last night. 193 did not vote for Mayor. On average each voter voted for 3.4 school committee candidates and 5.2 city council candidates. Roughly 2/3 of our city's voters chose not to vote. Of those who did vote, they decided not to use over 36,000 school committee votes and over 66,000 city council votes.
There were enough uncast votes last night to put any candidate in the final election. If you're disappointed in some of the results from last night's election, it's clear the power existed to change it. The point is, votes do matter.