Westfield, Southwick voters support local candidates

WESTFIELD – City voters participating in the 2012 primary election strongly endorsed local candidates while casting their ballots yesterday.
City Clerk Karen Fanion said that 2,956 of the city’s 23,549 registered voters exercised their voting right, a 12.55 percent turnout. Fanion did project a much more robust turnout for the presidential election in November when historically more than 70 percent of the city’s voters participate.
Fanion released the unofficial vote tallies last night. The election results have yet to be reconciled and certified by Secretary of State William F. Galvin.
Kevin Sullivan, vice chairman of the School Committee, narrowly lost the race to claim the western Massachusetts 8th District seat on the Governor’s Council, as former Springfield mayor Michael J. Albano took that contest by only 1,267 votes. Albano served as Springfield’s mayor for nearly a decade.
The eight member governor’s council confirms judicial appointments within the courts throughout the state. The western Massachusetts district seat represents the citizens of 96 cities and towns.
However, city voters handed Sullivan a significant boost in the race, giving Sullivan 1,464 votes, nearly three times the ballot count of 358 cast in Westfield for Albano.
Albano received 43 percent of the ballots cast in the four western counties, while 41 percent of voters cast their ballots for Sullivan.
Albano, a Longmeadow resident, will now face the winner of the Republican primary, Michael Franco, in the November election.
Franco was the candidate of choice among Republicans in Westfield, taking that race by a tally of 404 to 268 ballots cast for Michael F. Case. Franco narrowly defeated Case in the GOP 8th District race. Franco received 5,341 votes while Case took 4,896 ballots.
City voters also strongly supported another local candidate in the race for representative to the U.S. House of Representatives in the newly created 1st Congressional District.
Richard E. Neal, also a former Springfield mayor, was the choice of 1,429 city voters, far outpacing the challenge of Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr., of Pittsfield, who came in at a distant second with 521 ballots. Bill Shein finished third in both Westfield (116 ballots) and the district.
District-wide, Neal garnered 40,165 votes, compared to Nuciforo’s 15,123 and Shein’s 6,046. The primary victory positions Neal to continue to occupy a seat in Congress because there are not any candidates from other parties opposing him. Neal first won election to Congress in 1988.
Congressman Neal issued a thank you to constituents, stating he “is thankful for the great victory and all the supporters, especially in Westfield where the margin was nearly four to one.”
Nuciforo, who ran a spirited campaign against the incumbent Neal released a statement this morning.
“Thank you to all of my family, friends, volunteers, staff and supporters for standing with me and our team during this campaign. While we did not achieve the outcome we hoped for, I’m honored and humbled by your support. We raised important issues, and we offered an alternative to thousands of voters that went to the polls yesterday,” he stated in a prepared text.
City voters also supported Laura Gentile who won the Democratic race for Hampden Clerk of Courts, narrowly out pacing Thomas Ashe, both in Westfield and throughout the county.
Gentile received 878 votes of the 2,134 ballots cast, or 41.8 percent, in Westfield where Ashe received 590 votes. Countywide, Gentile garnered 12,060, while Ashe took 11,086 ballots.
City voters generally participated in the traditional party primary elections with only two voters citywide casting Green-Rainbow ballots, while 2,134 residents case Democratic primary ballots and 820 residents selected the GOP primary ballot.
Southwick residents casting Democratic primary ballots also supported Neal (282) over Nuciforo (127), and Sullivan (242) over Albano (117). Southwick voters did buck the district trend in casting ballots for Ashe (252) over Gentile (180).
On the GOP side, voters selected Franco (126) over Case (104).

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