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Tully Upsets Yon In Pittsfield Election

Staff Reports

Lisa Tully ousted incumbent Christine Yon.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Ward 1 Councilor Christine Yon was ousted from her seat Tuesday night after voters went for her challenger Lisa Tully.
 
Tully defeated Yon in the Ward 1 race by a vote of 565-480. Yon was seeking her third term in the position while this was Tully's first campaign for public office.
 
"I'm so ready to go it's incredible," Tully said after receiving the news that she won.
 
Following a preliminary election in which Yon received 166 more votes than her, Tully said she knew the race was a close one and was shocked by the results. 
 
"I'm just excited to take on this role. To teach Ward 1 about safety issues, to be involved in the community issues, to really be a people-person for my Ward 1 constituents and to help the city progress. I think we all can work together to progress the city to where it should be," Tully said.
 
Tully won't be the only newcomer to the City Council after the election. Nicholas Caccamo defeated Richard Latura for Ward 3 councilor. Caccamo and Latura were vying to replace Paul Capitanio, who is facing criminal charges, after he opted not to run for re-election.
 
Caccamo won easily by reeling in 1,013 votes to Latura's 308. Caccamo said he is excited to begin his work on the council and was humbled by the overwhelming support.
 
"Its very humbling to get a victory of that margin," Caccamo said. "You just hope to get 51 percent and a win is a win no matter how big the margin."
 
Caccamo ran in two previous elections, once for mayor and once for councilor at-large. He said his experience in those campaigns helped this election.
 
"I think oftentimes name recognition tends to go a long way," Caccamo said. "I think I ran a good, positive campaign before and I continued that with this one."
 
His campaign had some last-minute worries when questions were raised about the city's new charter and when that would be in effect. Caccamo works in the school system and the new charter would exclude him from the elected position when goes into effect. He said he consulted the state election office, which said the charter wouldn't go into effect until 2015 but the ultimate ruling could be in the hands of the city solicitor.
 
The revised City Charter passed easily with 4,688 vote in favor to only 1,491 against. It now goes to the Legislature.
 
Another newcomer is Kathleen Amuso, a longtime School Committee member, who won one of four at-large seats on the City Council. Amuso joins incumbents Barry Clairmont, Churchill Cotton and Melissa Mazzeo with at-large positions. Kevin Sherman opted not to run for re-election for an at-large seat.
 
Clairmont just squeaked by in that race by only 16 votes. Newcomer Donna Todd Rivers just missed bumping him from the seat with 3,443 votes to his 3,459. Meanwhile, Mazzeo was the top at-large vote-getter with 4,182, followed by Cotton with 3,916 and Amuso with 3,889. Mark Miller and James Conant rounded out the field with 2,373 and 1,678 respectively.
 
In Ward 6, incumbent John Krol defeated opponent Joseph Nichols, 753 votes to 373. 
 
Krol, who publicly announced his run just before the deadline to enter the race, credited his level of interaction with Ward 6 residents since that time with much of his success at the polls. 
 
"People in the beginning didn't even know if I was going to run," Krol said following the election. "When I decide to run, I really run. I take it very seriously." 
 
Krol, who will now enter his third term in January, said that through 12 weeks of intensive door-to-door campaigning, he managed to "really re-engage and re-educated the voters" about himself and his accomplishments representing them the past four years.
 
"I took it to the constituents," Krol said. "You have to drive that message home."
 
In the final days of the race, Krol had rebuked his opponent over what he denounced as "untrue accusations," including frequent claims he had been unresponsive councilor, attacks Krol thinks may have hurt Nichols' campaign.
 
"With my opponent, the entire foundation of his whole campaign was unfair and untrue," said Krol. "I think I've shone that I was more than responsive, I was effective."
 
In the race for School Committee, Katherine Yon, Daniel Elias, Anthony Riello, Cynthia Taylor, Pamela Farron and Joshua Cutler won the six open seats. Brittany Douglas was the odd person out but finished with 2,964 votes despite not having very much of a public presence until Tuesday, when supporters were holding signs at various polling locations.
 
In uncontested races, Mayor Daniel Bianchi polled 5,143 votes; City Clerk Linda Tyer, 5,272; Ward 2 Councilor Kevin Morandi, 466; Ward 4 Councilor Christopher Connell, 915; Ward 5 Councilor Jonathan Lothrop, 539; and Ward 7 Councilor Anthony Simonelli, 569.
 
A total of 6,894 votes were cast of the 28,118 registered voters, a 24.52 percent turnout. 

Voters took to the polls on Tuesday to choose a new City Council and School Committee.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Turnout has been low so far in the city election Tuesday.

Voters are electing a new City Council and School Committee. There are three ward races, seven vying for four at-large City Council seats and seven seeking six positions on the School Committee.

Tuesday saw supporters and candidates at the polling locations holding signs to rally last minute support. But, the number of people casting votes has been low — somewhat expected because there is no mayoral race.

At 1 p.m. in Ward 4B only 320 made it to the polls with 3A and 6A showing similar numbers with 291 and 376. By 2 p.m. in Ward 1A and 1B, a total of only 521 votes were cast.

"I'm feeling there is a low voter turnout but I'm very optimistic," said Joseph Nichols, who was outside of Columbus Arms on Columbus Street rallying voters in his race against incumbent John Krol for Ward 6.

Nichols said this is the first time he sought election against an incumbent, raising the difficulty of winning. But, on Tuesday afternoon he was feeling good about his support.

"It's been a great experience going door to door and meeting the Ward 6 residents," Nichols said of the campaign. "It's a lot of hard work but I'm happy to be a candidate."

His competitor, Krol, said he did what he could do to drive a higher turnout. He said he is happy with the number of his supports he saw at the polls.

"I knew we wouldn't have additional momentum to drive turnout. [But] I think we've had a steady flow," Krol said, also outside of Columbus Arms. "I think I did everything I could."

This is only the second time Krol has faced competition for the seat and Nichols is no stranger to campaigns after representing Ward 7 previously and launching a bid for mayor in 2011.

In Ward 1, Lisa Tully, who is vying for the seat against incumbent Christine Yon, was feeling good about her first campaign. Tully was outside of Reid Middle School where both Ward 1 precincts are polling.

"I think I made it a personal campaign and let's hope it works," Tully said, adding that he focus was on meeting every voter face to face and sending handwritten letters asking for support. "If worst comes to worst, I've had a great experience."

Yon also spent the morning campaigning outside of Reid Middle School but she was not there at the time iBerkshires stopped by.

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