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Results: Agawam voters advance Johnson, Calabrese to general election for mayor

Voters in Agawam, Massachusetts, on Tuesday gave mayoral candidate and City Council President Christopher Johnson more than 50% of the vote, setting up a November contest against the runner-up, City Councilor Cecilia Calabrese.

Four candidates were on the preliminary ballot, looking to succeed incumbent Mayor Bill Sapelli, who is not seeking a fourth term.

Calabrese said her immediate priorities as mayor would include working on the next budget cycle — and drumming up interest in the town.

"The mayor needs to be the top salesman for bringing business into Agawam and I've got that marketing experience. I've got that sales experience," she said, "and that drive and desire."

Johnson said his strength is the experience he's had already being mayor of Agawam, throughout the 1990s. He said the ongoing project to build a new high school is the No. 1 issue in the coming year.

"Agawam's on a very positive path," he said. "My goal is to keep it on that same path."

Both candidates said they'll knock on a lot of doors before the November 7 election.

Outside the polling place at the Granger School, voter Rosemary Santaniello said she was backing Calabrese.

"She is experienced. She is knowledgeable. She is professional. She will help this community. She's an asset," Santaniello said. "She will be the best thing Agawam could ever have — and she's a fresh voice."

At the Sapelli School, Dino Mercadante, who is also a city councilor, said Johnson has the experience necessary to do the job again.

"With all fairness to all four candidates, I think Chris has the bandwidth to carry the town forward. He's actually brilliant at his job," Mercadante said. "He's the previous mayor of the town of Agawam. I think he can hit the round running."

William Clark, who has a background in business and works at a local publishing facility, finished a distant third in the mayoral preliminary, followed by snack delivery business owner Andy Montefusco.

Updated: October 10, 2023 at 10:46 PM EDT
This post was updated with results and quotes from the candidates and their supporters.
Jill Kaufman has been a reporter and host at NEPM since 2005. Before that she spent 10 years at WBUR in Boston, producing "The Connection" with Christopher Lydon and on "Morning Edition" reporting and hosting. She's also hosted NHPR's daily talk show "The Exhange" and was an editor at PRX's "The World."
Adam joined NEPM as a freelance reporter and fill-in operations assistant during the summer of 2011. For more than 15 years, Adam has had a number stops throughout his broadcast career, including as a news reporter and anchor, sports host and play-by-play announcer as well as a producer and technician.
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