Voters in Lynn and Somerville narrowed the field in wide-open mayoral races during preliminary elections Tuesday, while mayors seeking reelection in several other Greater Boston communities secured enough support to appear on local ballots in November.
But Tuesday’s results suggested that two of those incumbent mayors -- Yvonne Spicer of Framingham and Sefatia Romeo Theken of Gloucester -- could face stiff competition in their campaigns for new terms in office.
In preliminary elections across the region, the top two finishers Tuesday are expected to appear on municipal ballots Nov. 2.
In Gloucester, Romeo Theken trailed candidate Gregory P. Verga, according to unofficial results Tuesday. Spicer came in second to challenger Charlie Sisitsky in Framingham.
Spicer is the first popularly elected Black woman to serve as mayor in Massachusetts, and the first mayor of Framingham, where voters chose a city form of government in 2017. Spicer, in a statement Tuesday night, said she was disappointed by the low turnout in the election, but was “honored and humbled” by the support she has received.
”Framingham voters now have a clear choice to make this November. Framingham today is more diverse, financially secure, and accessible than ever. We have taken a stand for workers rights; for good jobs; and for opportunity for all. We must choose to move forward to a city that works for all,” she said in the statement.
Sisitsky, in a statement, said Framingham is at a crossroads and called the election results an important milestone.
“The new perspective and fresh sense of urgency I offer, alongside my professional municipal experience and a desire to work together was validated tonight,” he said.
Meanwhile, hotly charged campaigns have erupted in races to succeed Lynn Mayor Thomas McGee and Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone, who are not seeking reelection this year.
In Somerville, City Councilor members Wilfred N. Mbah and Katjana Ballantyne were the top finishers in a four-way race to succeed Curtatone, who was not seeking reelection, according to unofficial results Tuesday night.
And in the campaign to take over for McGee in Lynn, School Committee member Jared C. Nicholson and City Council President Darren P. Cyr were the top finishers among three candidates on Tuesday’s ballot.
In Salem and Newton, incumbent mayors came in first place after Tuesday’s preliminary vote.
Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll came in first in a three-way race for mayor Tuesday, the city clerk reported, followed by challenger Stephen G. Dibble. In Newton, Ruthanne Fuller pulled out a first place win in a three-candidate ballot on Tuesday, followed by challenger Amy Mah Sangiolo, a former city councilor. In Medford, Mayor Breanna Lungo-Koehn also came in first ahead of John C. Falco Jr.
Three of the incumbents who appeared on ballots Tuesday seeking reelection -- Spicer, Fuller, and Driscoll -- are also the first women to serve as mayors in their communities.
The region’s mayors have been on the front lines of the pandemic, and in cities voting this year, incumbents and challengers are seeking to take charge of their communities amid the ongoing recovery and threat still posed by COVID-19. Throughout the crisis, mayors have been pressed into service as advocates, cheerleaders, and at times, consolers as the virus claimed the lives of residents in their communities.
Greater Boston’s mayors must also grapple with the daily business of government and challenges beyond the coronavirus, such as skyrocketing housing costs and systemic racism.
In Lynn, Nicholson, Cyr, and Michael A. Satterwhite were on the ballot Tuesday to serve the city’s four-year mayoral term.
Nicholson had 3,220 votes Tuesday, followed by Cyr’s 2,593 votes, according to the clerk’s office. Satterwhite, who is also a School Committee member, had 2,286 votes. The city clerk reported 8,227 ballots cast of 55,627 registered voters Tuesday.
In Somerville, candidates William B. Tauro, Mary Cassesso, as well as Mbah and Ballantyne all ran for the two-year term as mayor.
Mbah took the lead Tuesday, with 4,498 votes, followed by Ballantyne with 4,162 votes, according to unofficial results released by the City Clerk’s office Tuesday night. Cassesso came in third with 4,083 votes, and Tauro had 2,215 votes.
Somerville reported 15,034 total votes cast in Tuesday’s election. There are 58,766 registered voters in Somerville, according to the clerk’s office.
In Framingham, Spicer, had 1,938 votes, while Sisitsky came in first with 4,401 votes, according to the clerk’s office. A third candidate Carlos Valadares had 363 votes. About 17 percent of the city’s 38,620 registered voters cast ballots in the election.
Gloucester’s Romeo Theken, who was elected to a full term as the city’s mayor in 2015, faced a crowded field ahead of Tuesday’s vote. Verga was the top finisher Tuesday, with 3,178 votes, with the incumbent mayor in second place, with 1,831 votes, according to unofficial results.
The remaining candidates in Gloucester were far behind in vote totals: Brian Jay Pollard, had 764 votes, Robert Russell had 252 votes, John M. Harvey Jr.had 241 votes, followed by Francisco A. Sclafani, with 25 votes, the city clerk reported. Officials said 6,307 votes were cast out of 21,948 registered voters in Gloucester.
Newton’s Fuller, who was first elected mayor in 2017, had 5,926 votes Tuesday, according to the city clerk. Sangiolo had 4,247 votes, while the remaining candidate, Albert Cecchinelli, had 661 votes.
In Salem, Driscoll, who first won election as Salem’s mayor in 2005, had 4,111 votes Tuesday, the city clerk reported. The second place finisher, Dibble, had 2,539 votes, followed by Frank L. Perley III, with 147 votes.
Salem has a four-year term for its mayor. Turnout was 21.5 percent of the city’s 31,851 voters, according to the clerk’s office.
In Medford, Lungo-Koehn came in first with 3,968 votes Tuesday night, according to the city clerk’s office. Falco came in second with 2,896 votes, and John J. Petrella had 1,431 votes.
The city’s mayoral term is two years, and Lungo-Koehn is seeking her second term. About 20 percent of the city’s 41,296 registered voters turned out for the election.
In Haverhill, Mayor James Fiorentini, who was originally elected in 2003, came in first against challenger Colin LePage on his path to another two-year term.
Fiorentini had 2,978 votes, followed by LePage’s 1,345 votes, according to unofficial results. Guy Cooper had 931 votes Tuesday.
Brockton Mayor Robert Sullivan, who was first elected in 2019, faced Eugenie Kavanagh and Tina Cardoso on the ballot Tuesday. The candidates asked voters to support their campaigns for a two-year mayoral term.
Sullivan placed first in the race Tuesday, with 4,236 votes, the city clerk reported. Cardoso was second with 1,330 votes, and Kavanagh had 225 votes. About 10 percent of Brockton’s 57,744 registered voters participated in Tuesday’s election.
John Hilliard can be reached at email@example.com.