AMESBURY — Mayor Thatcher Kezer sailed into victory yesterday with 59 percent of the vote, earning a fourth two-year term in the mayor's office.
Kezer, 51, beat out Planning Board member Ted Semesnyei, 36, by a vote of 1,810-1,266.
Voter turnout was 28.4 percent, with 3,115 of 10,939 registered voters heading to the polls.
Kezer hugged his wife and shook hands with supporters and Semesnyei after Town Clerk Bonnijo Kitchin read the results from the six districts last night.
The mayor said his message hit home with voters because it's been the same message.
"My message this campaign was not different from my first campaign (in 2005) — only we achieved a lot of things that I talked about in the first campaign, and it's keeping them moving forward, so that over time, the finances keep getting stronger, our improvements in infrastructure accelerate," Kezer said. "We do all the things that residents of Amesbury expect us to do."
The mayor headed to the Barking Dog restaurant for his victory party, where supporters gathered. Kezer's victory also set a landmark in the town's political landscape: He is now the longest-serving mayor in the 16 years that Amesbury has had a city form of government.
With a fourth term, Kezer will be in office eight years in 2013, a long stretch that provides results for cities and towns, he said.
"Municipalities that have been successful are the ones that had consistency over a number of years, taken the challenges they face and work through those challenges," the mayor said. "That's what I tried to bring to Amesbury: consistency."
Semesnyei took the results in stride. As the results were announced district by district, Semesnyei grimaced slightly after Kezer had more voters than he did in each district.
"The results are in. The results were loud and clear," Semesnyei said. "Clearly the people of Amesbury voted for the mayor, and considering what we've been doing, I've got no one to blame but myself. Obviously, I didn't have a strong enough message."