Results: Sarno and Hurst advance in Springfield's mayoral preliminary
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With 100% of precincts reporting, according to the city election office, incumbent Domenic Sarno and City Councilor Justin Hurst finished well ahead of the three other mayoral candidates in the preliminary election in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Sarno and Hurst will face each other on the November ballot.
State Rep. Orlando Ramos secured the third-most votes, followed by City Council President Jesse Lederman. Therapist David Ciampi received fewer than 100 votes.
"I love my job. I live it 24-7."
Sarno won by far the most votes among the candidates, but fell short of a majority.
"To each and every one of you, thank you and to the voters and the residents of the city of Springfield," Sarno said to his supporters at his campaign headquarters Tuesday night. "Thank you for your continued belief and confidence in my abilities. I love my job. I live it 24-7."
The mayor then said he needed to turn his attention to the "safety of my residents of the city of Springfield," referencing a water main break that led the city to issue a boil order Tuesday night and cancel school Wednesday.
Sarno later spoke to reporters about the water issue — and then talked politics, calling his victory in the preliminary "resounding".
"I have a proven track record, battle-tested track record and we made gains in all areas of the city," he said, "but there's much more work to be done."
The mayor also had a message for Springfield residents who didn't vote for him this time, but might be looking for a candidate in November.
"I welcome them to take a a look, a second look at my campaign, take a second look at my record," he said.
Sarno, who was first elected in 2007, is the longest serving mayor in the city's history.
One of his supporters, Patricia Postell, said Sarno is "doing a good job.
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it," she said outside the polls Tuesday.
Hurst tops other challengers
Hurst, who finished second with nearly 29%, told his supporters that Springfield's residents "clearly have spoken. They know that they want change."
Hurts said a lot of issues motivated voters, from crime to taxes and the city's trash fee.
"Voters are also concerned about housing ... investing in our young people, first-class education for our kids," Hurst said. "There are a variety of issues that need to be addressed and that we have a plan for. And we believe that the residents of Springfield will believe in our vision."
His wife, Denise Hurst, who is a school committee member, said this win is significant not only for the city of Springfield, but for their family.
"I couldn't be more proud of my husband for the example that he has set for our sons," she said. "It's just so exciting for my husband who's family were were slaves and sharecroppers and for my mother's family who migrated here from Puerto Rico and my grandparents from the South. None of us could have ever imagined that we'd be where we are today."
During his speech at Marlee's Restaurant and Grill on Boston Road, Justin Hurst reiterated one of his campaign slogans.
"We said when we started this campaign, it was 'we over me.' ... We want to change the trajectory of Springfield... we want a Springfield that works for all of us," he said. "If we want a Springfield that we can be proud of, that we take pride in ... then 'we over me' is what has to happen."
Erica Cruz cheered as Hurst concluded his speech.
"I truly, definitely believe in Justin because he's very compassionate, he's driven and he's very motivated to get the city in a place where it needs to be," Cruz said.
In a statement, Lederman congratulated Sarno and Hurst.
"[I] commend all who took part in this preliminary, and I look forward to continuing my own service to our community," Lederman said. “While tonight’s results are not what we had hoped for, I’m thankful for the opportunity we had in this campaign to elevate the level of debate in our community, and bring forward a solutions oriented message of innovation and progress for the city we all love."
Earlier in the day, Ramos supporter Ray Gotay explained his decision to back the state legislator and former city councilor.
"It’s very important to me that a Hispanic is running," Gotay said, "because we have had many decades with alliances for Italians, for Anglo-Saxons. Now it’s our turn, that we align so that we can have a Hispanic become mayor."
Candidate David Ciampi, a therapist, finished last, with 93 votes. The largely self-funded candidate ended up spending more than $400 per vote.
"If you don't vote, you can't yip about it."
According to the city elections office, 13.56% of registered voters in Springfield cast ballots.
Juana Girona showed up at the polls. She calls herself a "supervoter."
"My parents always taught us, growing up in New York City, 'You have to vote. That's powerful.' And it takes one person — one vote can change everything," Girona said. "So I want the people of this city to come out and vote. We have to vote. If we don't vote, we can't complain and then have no voice. You know, voting is voice."
Robert Lynch said he comes out to every election. Lynch — who is 84 years old — said he wishes more people, especially younger residents, would cast ballots.
"If you don't vote, you can't yip about it. Don't complain, if you don't vote," he said. "And I'm just tired of people saying, 'Well, there's nobody out there.' I said, 'You got to have one that's better than the other. Pick the devil you know, not the devil you don't, but do something. Don't sit around and not vote.'"
Barbara Davis said she votes in every election. Davis wants the candidates to address crime, taxes and education.
"And the housing situation and, of course, where to put all the people that are coming here...all the people from other countries and all. That's a big issue, too," Davis said. "So that needs to be worked out."
Batlah Abdul-Rahim said she feels it's her duty to come out and vote, despite her disillusionment with politics in recent years.
"I think that the system needs a lot of changes," she said. "I think we've seen that more clearly in the last couple of years than we've seen before. It's very easy to lose faith when you see at the higher levels there's not a lot of changes. But that only happens when we start at the ground level and everybody takes back a little bit of their power."
More voting ahead
In one week, on Sept. 19, Pittsfield holds a preliminary election for mayor. Agawam follows on Oct. 10.
Four other western Massachusetts communities — Chicopee, Greenfield, North Adams and Westfield — have have just two candidates, so they don't need preliminary elections for mayor.