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Alcombright, Boucher Take Top Preliminary Spots

By Tammy Daniels
iBerkshires Staff

Campaign supporters were out at St. Elizabeth's Parish Center, where four of the city's wards vote.

Toting up the results of Tuesday's preliminary election.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Voters have selected the two candidates — Richard Alcombright and Ronald Boucher — who will face off for mayor in the general election in November.

Incumbent Alcombright outpolled both his challengers in the balloting that saw about 18 percent of the city's 9,000-odd voters go to the polls.

"I was very pleased. If you look at the numbers, the percentages almost to follow kind of what they did in the last election back in '09," said Alcombright. "I think we were upwards of 60 percent."

The incumbent said this was just a battle and his campaign will "run a strong, hard campaign for the rest of the time." 

"We have to work hard," he said, pledging to "stay focused on our message and stay positive." "Ron's a good candidate and the next few weeks will be telling as we dig into the issues and see really where our differences lie."

Boucher wasn't too far behind the incumbent. Both handily outstripped third place Robert Martelle, whose campaign barely registered.

"I'm very excited," said Boucher. "I thought the turnout for us at 751[votes] was excellent considering less than two weeks ago, we just had our kickoff and our campaign has only been together, working at it for only six weeks.

"The mayor probably outspent us three to one in advertising," he said. "All I can say is I look forward to the opportunity to debate the mayor in the coming weeks. We will talk about the issues that are important to the city ... the vision and the ideas going forth."

Boucher noted the large number of voters who failed to turnout. "I believe this is going to be a horse race to the end ... there's a lot of people sitting out there waiting for what we have to say."

In total, Alcombright received 1,105 votes; Boucher, the current City Council president, earned 751, and Martelle 216.

Ken O'Brien, head warden at St. Elizabeth's Parish Center, described the turnout as "medium" and said it "was steady and slow all day."

"It went as smooth as can be," he said.

The voting wasn't straightforward, however, because voters were asked to pick "not more than two" candidates. That means some people voted two candidates, but many more apparently voted for one if the high number of blanks is any indication.

A blank vote occurred if only one vote — or no votes — was cast on the ballot. So one ballot could have an actual vote and a blank vote. There were 1,206 blank votes on the 1,664 ballots cast, indicating that voters may not have understand they could vote for two candidates or didn't care to vote for two.

Each of the five wards showed a similar trend with about two-thirds of voters selecting only one name. Some supporters may have tried to outwit each other by selecting their candidate and throwing a vote to Martelle; others likely picked the two front-runners.

But it's obvious many more voters didn't even bother to come out, figuring they'd wait to cast their ballots for real come November.

Preliminary Election Results

Ward 1
Ward 2
Ward 3
Ward 4
Ward 5
Richard Alcombright
Ronald Boucher
Robert Martelle
Total ballots cast

Update: Rewrite throughout; quotes added at 10:48 p.m. Tuesday. 


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Tuesday, Nov. 4

Voting is from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Deadline to register or change party affiliation was Oct.15.

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John B. Miller, Republican

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