BOSTON (CBS/AP) — Springfield’s incumbent mayor trounced his opponent to win re-election Tuesday and a 22-year-old recent Brown University graduate derailed Holyoke Mayor Elaine Pluta’s bid for a second term, becoming that western Massachusetts city’s youngest mayor ever.
Voters in more than 50 Massachusetts communities went to the polls on an unseasonably warm, sunny day to elect mayors and decide other local races.
In Springfield, the state’s third-largest city, Mayor Domenic Sarno won more than 70 percent of the vote over City Council President Jose Tosado. The race took on added importance because the mayor’s term is expanding from two years to four years under a recent charter change.
Tosado mounted a spirited campaign to become the city’s first Latino mayor and won the endorsement of some key labor unions, but Sarno’s campaign highlighted the city’s improved financial standing and to his leadership after a devastating tornado in June.
“It was very good, I’m ecstatic, I’m very appreciative of the resounding victory and the vote of confidence in my ability from the Springfield people,” Sarno told The Associated Press. “I have more work to do as we move forward — and I ask my adversary now to come together and work together as one to move the city of Springfield forward.”
Sarno said his agenda will be dominated by efforts to rebuild from the tornado that decimated parts of the city and the October snowstorm as well as attempts to stem youth violence, improve education and promote economic development.
He said the expanded four-year-term will give him the continuity and space to carry out his vision for the city.
The Springfield election was monitored by two officials from the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department as a result of a prior lawsuit alleging that the rights of minority voters were violated.
In Holyoke, Pluta conceded defeat after unofficial results showed Alex Morse was the winner of the mayor’s race.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030′s Carl Stevens talks to Morse
“This is an incredible moment, not just for this campaign, but for the city of Holyoke,” Morse said, according to The Republican of Springfield. “This has never been about me. This has never been about Alex Morse. This has been about the future of Holyoke.”
In Worcester, the state’s second-largest city, longtime city councilor Joseph Petty declared victory in a four-way race.
Petty won about 45 percent of the vote in a bid to succeed outgoing Mayor Joseph O’Brien, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette reported. Former Mayor Konstantina Lukes got 36 percent of the vote, with Carmen Carmona and William Coleman coming in a distant third and fourth.
O’Brien chose not to seek another term. Under Worcester’s city manager form of government, the mayor presides over the city council and school committee, but is not an administrator.
In New Bedford, former federal prosecutor Jon Mitchell defeated longtime state Rep. Antonio Cabral. The Standard-Times reports that Mitchell won just under 52 percent of the vote Tuesday in a bid to succeed Mayor Scott Lang, who is leaving office after three terms.
Both Cabral and Mitchell stressed job creation in a city that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says had a 10.3 percent unemployment rate in September.
Mitchell’s campaign also touted his public safety credentials, including his serving on a task force to catch former Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger.
And in Fitchburg, Mayor Lisa Wong, the state’s first female Asian-American mayor, beat City Councilor Joseph Solomito, who had pledged to reverse austerity measures she enacted.
There was no mayoral election in Boston, the state’s largest city, where Mayor Thomas Menino is midway through a record fifth term in office.
But, all four incumbent at-large city councilors appear to have retained their seats.
According to unofficial results, Ayanna Pressly, John R. Connolly, Felix Arroyo, and council president Stephen Murphy have defeated their challengers.
Michael Flaherty came in fifth, losing his bid to return to the city council.
He stepped down in 2009 to challenge Mayor Menino.
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