BY DYKE HENDRICKSON
---- — NEWBURYPORT — City voters returned six incumbents to the City Council yesterday, while adding several newcomers and a former councilor.
Winning the five at-large posts were the following: incumbent Ari Herzog (2,986), incumbent Edward Cameron (2,941), incumbent Barry Connell (2,938), Meghan Kinsey (2,848) and former Councilor Bruce Vogel (2,516). Results are unofficial.
Ward contests ended as follows: Ward 1: incumbent Allison Heartquist defeated Michael Ferrick, 650-343; Ward 2, Jared Eigerman defeated Christopher Welch, 468-454; Ward 3, incumbent Robert Cronin defeated Leslie Eckholdt, 517-461; Ward 4, Charles Tontar defeated incumbent Tom Jones, 744-395; Ward 5, Larry Giunta Jr. defeated Sean Reardon, 481-413.
Thomas O’Brien, who is president of the City Council, was unopposed in Ward 6. He drew 681 votes.
Incumbents fared well in the election, which brought out nine candidates for five at-large seats, and 11 hopefuls for six ward seats. Jones was the only incumbent councilor to lose his seat.
The council election marked a changing of the guard, as five councilors who served multiple terms (Greg Earls, Dick Sullivan Jr., Jones, Brian Derrivan and Steve Hutcheson) will not be returning.
Kinsey, who had spearheaded the Port Pride education initiative two years ago, will be serving her first term.
Vogel, who served two terms as the councilor from Ward 5 (2004-2007), returns to the council. The new council will be sworn in in January.
Tontar, an urban studies professor at Merrimack College, was a big winner in his quest to serve as councilor from Ward 4.
He soundly defeated Jones, who was seeking his fifth term. Jones was proud of his record in which he “hadn’t missed a council meeting in eight years.”
Jones, a construction superintendent, flew in from a job in Oklahoma late Monday to hold signs yesterday. “The employer was understanding,” said Jones. “But I fly back at dawn tomorrow.”
Eigerman was a narrow winner in Ward 2 in a match-up of lawyers. The margin was 14 votes as Welch was unable to return to the council after having served several terms in the past.
In Ward 5, Giunta won for the ward position after having run unsuccessfully two years ago for an at-large position.
Despite having no opposition, O’Brien held signs from 6:45 a.m. until well after dark yesterday.
Indeed, numerous candidates had begun holding signs at 7 a.m., when the polls opened.
Also running at-large were Laurel Allgrove (801), Lyndi Lanphear (1,971), Bruce Menin (1,989) and Sheila Mullins (2016).
Four councilors voluntarily left the council: Earls, who represented Ward 2 for a decade, and Sullivan, a one-term at-large councilor, both ran for mayor.
Derrivan did not seek re-election after serving for six years; Hutcheson, who was named to fill the vacancy left when Kathleen O’Connor Ives was elected senator, is leaving after seven years due to work commitments.
Hutcheson served three terms before losing in 2011, and then being named by council members.
In unofficial returns, city officials say close to 55 percent of the city’s electorate went to the polls.