NEWBURYPORT — Defeated mayoral candidate Greg Earls yesterday said he is withholding a possible endorsement for mayor until he gets the opportunity to speak to both candidates running for the office: incumbent Donna Holaday and City Councilor Dick Sullivan Jr.
Earls was edged out Tuesday in an energetically contested preliminary. The veteran city councilor drew 1,302 votes, while Sullivan had 1,355 and Holaday topped the field with 1,496.
City officials said about 32 percent of the city’s 13,200 registered voters went to the polls.
Earls said yesterday he is undecided about which of his former opponents he will support in November. That support will prove important for either mayoral candidate as Earls won slightly more than half the votes in Ward 2, the highest margin of victory any of the candidates won in any ward. The ward includes Newburyport’s downtown and part of the South End. He edged out Holaday by a slight margin in Ward 1, which runs through the South End, Plum Island and the Joppa neighborhood
“I am undecided about my future plans and will wait to speak with each candidate personally before announcing anything,” Earls said yesterday. “They have both said they would like to have a conversation.
“Regarding my campaign, I had some wonderful and dedicated people who I can’t possibly thank enough,” he added. “I am convinced that the people have spoken regarding the desire for a non-privatized waterfront.”
Earls said he will also keep looking for answers as to who sent out anonymous mailers and robocalls against Holaday in the days leading up to the preliminary.
“I will be asking for a complete and comprehensive investigation as to the author, creator and/or funder of the anonymous flier and robocalls,” Earls said. “This was an unfortunate distraction and, I believe, managed to affect the results of the [preliminary] election.”