BY DYKE HENDRICKSON
---- — NEWBURYPORT — A recount in the city’s mayoral race yesterday has resulted in the same order of finish: Mayor Donna Holaday (1,498), City Councilor Dick Sullivan (1,354) and City Councilor Greg Earls (1,303), with just a few votes changing.
During preliminary election voting in mid-September, the tally was as follows: Holaday (1,496), Sullivan (1,355) and Earls (1,302).
The recount, held at City Hall with numerous official observers and lawyers watching the re-tally of each vote, took about four hours. Earls, who fell short of beating Sullivan by 53 votes, had requested the recount.
The three candidates were present, and Earls congratulated both opponents at the end of the session.
“I have no plans right now other than to work to help the city in the coming weeks,” said Earls, a construction manager and educator who will be leaving the council at the end of the year.
He declined to say whether he would endorse a candidate in the November election.
Holaday said, “I am glad this is behind us, and we can move forward and continue our campaign.
“Greg ran a good campaign. I will miss him on the council.”
Sullivan said, “From the day after the election, I have kept working on my campaign. Greg was within his rights to ask for the recount, and now we continue with the campaign process.”
Earls, who represented Ward 2, will be leaving the council when his term expires at the end of this year. He has served on the council for a decade. He opposed commercial development on the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority’s waterfront lots, and said he will continue to address that issue.
“When you knock on 50 doors (at a given time) and listen to the people, the waterfront is what the people are concerned about,” said Earls. “I will talk about the issue, and plan to write a letter (to the editor) about the NRA’s plans and my opposition to commercial development.”
Numerous official observers —representatives of the candidates — stood over the teams that had been employed for the recount. Most were regular election wardens, and no disagreements arose.
Because the ballots are computerized, there were no disputes about poor handwriting or “hanging chads.”
Supervisor was Lauren Goldberg, of Kopelman and Paige PC, the Boston law firm that acts as city solicitor for this community.
The recount cost between $4,000 and $5,000, according to officials in the office of the city clerk.
A half-dozen absentee ballots were rejected as arriving too late, including one from Hong Kong.