While both Gray and Kezer each won three of the city’s six districts, Gray’s performance in Districts 1 and 5, in particular, helped distance him from Kezer. Gray took 59 percent of the vote in both districts, and Kezer acknowledged that since both districts have a lot of waterfront property, Gray’s message of lower tax rates likely resonated more there.
“These are homes that are on water that maintained their values and therefore saw the most impact on their taxes,” Kezer said. “So I think the next step in the process is to talk about the level of services, and ask what is his plan to address both controlling taxes and delivering the services the residents expect?”
Overall, turnout in yesterday’s election was 17 percent, much higher than anticipated and more than double the 7 percent turnout in the 2011 mayoral preliminary. In fact, more votes had already been cast before 1 p.m. than had been cast all day during the 2011 preliminary, according to City Clerk Bonnijo Kitchin.
“I definitely have been happier with the turnout today compared to the last time,” Kitchin said shortly before noon.
Gray and Kezer also had large groups of supporters holding signs outside the Amesbury High School cafeteria as well, some of whom stayed for the entire day.
Michael Greaney, a longtime Amesbury resident who frequently speaks at City Council meetings, spent 13 hours holding a sign for Ken Gray despite being well into his 80s. Even before the results were announced, Greaney said he was confident that Gray would perform well.
“I think when this is over, you’ll have a new name for mayor,” Greaney said. “And his name is Ken Gray.”
Bill Poulin, a lifelong resident of Amesbury, said he voted for Kezer because he feels the mayor has done a good job meeting the city’s challenges while leading Amesbury through a difficult period of time.