, Newburyport, MA

November 7, 2013

Amesbury elects slew of write-in candidates

In District 2, quirk in law means both council hopefuls lose

By Mac Cerullo
Staff Writer

---- — AMESBURY — The District 2 City Council seat will be declared vacant in January after no write-in candidates mustered enough support to succeed outgoing incumbent Christian Scorzoni.

Despite being ineligible to retain his seat, Scorzoni was the leading vote-getter in Tuesday’s election with 271 votes, beating out write-in candidates Mary Louise Bartley and Mary Chatigny, who finished with 140 and 125 votes respectively.

Scorzoni had previously been running unopposed for re-election in District 2, but he was forced to pull out of the race last month after his family sold their house to move out of district, making him ineligible to remain District 2 councilor. The announcement came after the official withdrawal deadline had passed, so Scorzoni remained the only name on the ballot.

Because Scorzoni finished atop the polls in District 2, Chatigny or Bartley would have needed to secure 30 percent of the race’s 536 votes to become eligible for immediate appointment to the City Council. Had either candidate finished ahead of Scorzoni, they would have won election to the council outright.

Bartley’s 140 votes were good for 26 percent of the total, while Chatigny’s 125 votes were worth 23 percent.

City Clerk Bonnijo Kitchin said the next step will be for the council to declare the seat vacant at the start of the next term, and the opening will be posted so that any interested resident can submit an application. How long the vacancy will be posted is up to the next council, Kitchin said.

Kitchin said Bartley and Chatigny could both apply for the opening, as could any other eligible residents, but who gets the seat would ultimately be the council’s decision.

Though Scorzoni won’t return to the City Council, he appears to have already landed on his feet, as he won election to the School Committee as a write-in candidate, joining incumbents Peter Hoyt and Thomas McGee, who were the only two names on the ballot.

Hoyt was the leading vote-getter among School Committee candidates with 3,107 votes, followed by McGee with 1,772 and Scorzoni with 93. Sam Wilmot and Joanne Sullivan also received four write-in votes, and Jane Snow received three.

On the Planning Board, incumbent Karen Solstad and newcomer Scott Mandeville were the only candidates on the ballot and won election in a landslide. The remaining three vacancies were filled by write-ins, and were won by incumbents Ted Semesnyei and Howard Dalton, along with Lars Johannessen — Solstad’s husband — who beat out Tracey Chalifour for the final spot.

Solstad, Mandeville, Semesnyei and Johannessen will each serve four-year terms, while Dalton will finish out an unexpired two-year term.

Among the candidates for four-year terms, Mandeville finished first with 2,148 votes, ahead of Solstad’s 1,989, Semesnyei’s 244, Johannessen’s 176, Chalifour’s 99 and Dalton’s 44. Dalton received 225 votes for the lone two-year term, ahead of Johannessen’s 31.

On the Board of Library Trustees, Gretchen Marinopoulos and Stephen Dunford were the only names on the ballot and won election easily. The other four seats were won by Rebecca Jordan, Jim Sullivan, Roger Deschenes and Roger Estella, who each won via write-ins.

Marinopoulos was the top vote-getter among candidates for four-year terms with 3,048, followed by Jordan with 78, Sullivan with 34 and both Deschenes and Estella with 11. Dunford received 2,718 votes to win election to the unexpired two-year term, beating Jordan’s 14 write-in votes.

Mayor Thatcher Kezer received five write-in votes for both a four-year term and two-year term on the library trustees. All of those votes came from District 1, where Kezer fared worst in the mayoral election.

On the Housing Authority, incumbent David Hildt was re-elected after receiving 24 write-in votes, and Michael Bartley won the other seat with 14 write-in votes. Michael Noon finished in a close third with 13 write-ins and incumbent Raymond Shockey placed fourth with 10.