BY DYKE HENDRICKSON
---- — NEWBURYPORT — Defeated mayoral candidate Greg Earls has taken out papers as a first step in requesting a recount, but the Ward 2 city councilor has not decided whether he will actually ask for a review of the ballots for the preliminary election.
On Tuesday, Earls came in third to Mayor Donna Holaday, who received 1,496 votes and Dick Sullivan Jr., who got 1,355 votes. Earls had 1,302 votes, according to unofficial results released by city officials. There were six blanks and six write-in ballots.
“Representatives of the Earls campaign came by and picked up appropriate forms,” City Clerk Richard Jones said yesterday. “They have until 5 p.m. on Monday to return them.”
Jones said that there is a separate form for each ward, and that at least 10 valid signatures must be gathered to activate a recount in a given ward. Thus, if Earls is seeking a recount of wards 4, 5 and 6, where he did not fare well, he would need a total of at least 30 valid names.
The cost for a recount would be about $4,000 to $5,000, according to Jones. About 18 individuals would be required, and several police officers would also have to be paid to be present.
The votes would be recounted by hand.
Yesterday, Earls said his supporters have asked him to conduct a recount, but that he hasn’t yet made a decision.
“I will meet with some of my supporters tonight and this weekend to determine next possible steps,” he said. If papers are filed on Monday, the actual recount would likely take place a week later and could be performed in one day.
City officials said the last mayoral recount took place in 1997, when Mary Carrier narrowly defeated Jack Bradshaw. She prevailed in the recount.
In 2003, Tom Farrell was declared the winner after a recount over Steve Hutcheson in Ward 6 in the last example of a recount at the City Council level.
Earls won wards 1 and 2, but he was outdistanced in all other precincts.
The following is a breakdown of ward results: Ward 1, Holaday, 253, Sullivan, 216, Earls, 268; Ward 2, Holaday, 241, Sullivan, 126, and Earls, 375; Ward 3, Holaday, 232, Sullivan, 212, Earls,189; Ward 4, Holaday, 360, Sullivan, 286, Earls, 209; Ward 5, Holaday, 181, Sullivan, 249, and Earls, 124; and Ward 6, Holaday, 229, Sullivan, 266, and Earls,137.