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Alcombright Wins Second Term as Mayor
By Tammy Daniels On: 10:36PM / Tuesday November 08, 2011

Mayor Richard Alcombright gives the crowd a thumbs-up before his victory speech at campaign headquarters on Main Street.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Incumbent Richard Alcombright fended off a strong challenge by City Council President Ronald Boucher to earn a second term in the corner office with a "spectacular" victory.

Alcombright wound up the race with 2,333 votes to Boucher's 1,377, nearly the same margin he won by two years ago. The turn out wasn't as high but still clocked in at an impressive 42 percent according to unofficial results. 

"It resonated today that what we're doing is good, what we're doing is right and I think the majority of the people said that today," said Alcombright, moments after finding out he'd won.

The former councilor took the helm of the city two years ago after ousting longtime mayor John Barrett III, who himself won a City Council seat in this election.

Surrounded by green-clad, cheering supporters, Alcombright thanked voters and others for giving him another term.

"Two years ago, we ran a people-powered campaign that will long be remembered in this city and tonight after two years, after facing down some of the most difficult finanical and economic times in our nation's history, I appreciate the trust the voters have placed in me to do what's right for our city," he said, standing on the stage at the former Petrino's Cafe on Main Street.

The faces were far more sober at the American Legion, where the red-shirted supporters of Boucher had gathered with hopes of a victory party.

Supporters lined up to congratulate the winner.
Boucher's "Back to Basics" slogan that came with vows to lowering taxes and lure investment had seemed to strike a chord. Both polling places were heavy with Boucher signs during the day.

"I think we were a little bit too late at the end," said Boucher. "I think we had a strong last two weeks, I think that first debate hurt me a little bit; the second debate helped us ... I just believe the voters spoke tonight and they're happy with the administration, the way the city's moving and I respect that."

He asked the mayor to listen to the residents "because the people are hurting and don't forget them that's all, they're all important."

The six-term councilor said he'd been considering since last year not running again but was attracted by the idea of running for mayor. He didn't start his campaign until late in the summer, but spent that short time attacking what he saw as Alcombright's failed campaign promises. If anything, he exhibited a more aggressive style of leadership than the incumbent's pledges to "keep plugging along."

Alcombright's had some ups and downs over his short tenure as he's grappled with the city's financial woes. He's made progress in stabilizing North Adams' fiscal health and in developing fruitful relationships with surrounding communities. But he stumbled on the controversial Proposition 2 1/2 override and on the Sullivan School project, both of which Boucher called him to task on.

A preliminary election in September, despite the voting difficulties, indicated that Alcombright was going to be tough to defeat and his campaign motto of  "progress" were hitting hom.

Despite their opposing views, they were friends on the council and friendly during the campaign. A crowd of supporters for both roared their approval on election eve as the candidates walked into the Main Street intersection to shake hands after a standout.

"We've been friends a long time," said Alcombright. "We ran a race on the issues."

Boucher said he'd told Alcombright he and his supporters "will continue to help progress North Adams."

The mayor said he'll get back to work at 8 a.m. on Wednesday while Boucher, a sales executive for EcoLab, will serve out his term as council president and on the Hoosac Water Quality District. He didn't rule out running for office again but said he'll take a break for now.

"I spent 12 years giving to the community and it thought I'd give it a shot," he said of the mayor's race. "I'm happy with everything. I would have loved to have won but it wasn't the most important thing." Rather, he said, it ensuring residents were listened to.

Alcombright supporter Richard Taskin called the victory "spectacular."

"There are very few mayors in the United States of America under the current economic conditions who could have made the decisions that this man did who could be re-elected by the margin he won tonight," he said. "They trust this man, they trust him to do what's right."

Ronald Boucher, talking with one of his biggest supports Robert Cardimino, said he wanted the mayor to remember to listen to residents.
But Boucher supporter Robert Cardimino said he was calling it quits and not going to anymore City Council meetings. "They're not going to have Cardimino to kick around anymore," said the disappointed council candidate.

He estimated he'd shaken at least 2,000 hands of voters coming in and out the polling stations and had expected far better results than 11th.

All six incuments — Lisa Blackmer, David Bond (who received the most votes at 2,210), Michael Bloom, Alan Marden, Marie Harpin and Keith Bona — were re-elected. Joining them will be Barrett, Jennifer Breen-Kirsch and Nancy Bullett.

Mary Lou Accetta and Lawrence Taft were easily re-elected; joining them will be David Lamarre, currently a city councilor. George Canales, running unopposed, was re-elected to the McCann School Committee.


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