AMESBURY — The heated mayoral election reached a stunning conclusion last night when Ken Gray defeated Mayor Thatcher Kezer by a mere eight votes in yesterday’s city election.
Gray finished atop the polls with 2,088 votes to Kezer’s 2,080 votes, beating the four-term incumbent Kezer by the slimmest possible margin to become the fourth mayor in Amesbury history.
“The folks in Amesbury have given me the honor of voting for me. I’m humbled, I’m certainly pleased, I owe a huge part of this beyond the voters to my team, who have been amazing,” he said.
When the results came out as close as they were, Kezer, for his part, was not ready to concede defeat in the moments after the initial results were announced.
“It’s very close, so we need to take a look at a number of ballots that aren’t accounted for that might have flipped out of the system,” Kezer said. “So there’s a time frame in order to do a recount, so that’s what we’ll look into.”
There are 41 ballots that did not record a vote for either candidate, and those ballots may prove crucial in a recount.
When the results of the race were announced, City Clerk Bonnijo Kitchin read off each total by district, and the tension grew among supporters of each candidate as it became clear the race was going to be close. Once the final district’s numbers were read, there was a moment of quiet disbelief among the crowd of about 150 before supporters of Gray began to congratulate him on his victory.
Besides thanking his supporters, Gray also praised Kezer for running a good campaign, and said he would be reaching out to the mayor in the near future to begin the transition process.
“The mayor ran a good campaign,” Gray said. “I’m really pleased that we ran campaigns that we could both be proud of, and I think that’s important for the people of Amesbury and hopefully we can start to bring everyone together.”