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Cariddi Clear Winner in 1st District

Tammy Daniels

Gailanne Cariddi is hugged by supporters at Petrino's Cafe after winning the 1st Berkshire District.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Gailanne Cariddi emerged as the winner in the 1st District, the first new state representative in 24 years and the first woman to occupy the seat. Although a primary election, there's no Republican running so the Democratic winner will coast to victory in November.

The longtime North Adams city councilor was surrounded by well-wishers at Petrino's Cafe on Main Street in North Adams as numbers continued to flow in from the district's hilltowns.

"I'm sure that it really hasn't hit me yet because it's so wonderful for so many voters to come out and support me," said Cariddi. "I really want to thank all the voters because without all of them, and the team we put together to run this election, we wouldn't be this happy right now."

The city native felt she was the leading candidate and her father was sure. He wasn't excited Tuesday, she said, "he said he knew I was going to win."

"Right along I felt I was the leading candidate but I told everyone I had two opponents from Adams nipping at my heels so I had to keep going," said Cariddi, referring to House hopefuls David Bisssaillon and Edward MacDonald.

Cariddi easily took North Adams, pulling 1,710 votes to Bissaillon's 575 and MacDonald's 379. She came in second in Adams, no surprise, with Bissaillon sweeping the town with 1,328 votes; Cariddi took 356 and MacDonald 261. It was in Williamstown, however, that Cariddi pulled far enough ahead that it would have been tough to catch her. She pulverized both men with 70 percent of the vote. Some 1,028 ballots were cast for Cariddi in the Purple Valley compared to 293 for Bissaillon and 164 for MacDonald.

She continued to roll up the smaller towns, gaining 221 votes in Clarksburg (Bissaillon, 120; MacDonald, 48) out of the 425 votes cast, and took Charlemont with 84 votes.

Cariddi believed her stances on the economy, jobs, community development, green initiatives, agriculture, small business, tourism and arts and culture put her over the top.

"They want somebody with a positive attitude who's going to keep moving our district forward," she said. "I think all of those things resonated with the voters. I talked about them time and time again. People wanted issues; I gave them issues."

The party was winding down at the Bounti-Fare in Adams for David Bissaillon. The former Berkshire Chamber president said he didn't want his supporters to leave sad.

"The people who worked for me, who supported me, they were my heroes. I'm grateful for what they've done," he said.

David Bissaillon talks with a supporter at the Bounti-Fare after losing his first run for office.

He wasn't ready to speculate on if he'd make another try at elected office — "not tonight" — and planned to take a breather and get back to work at Coakley, Pierpan, Dolan & Collins Insurance Agency.

"Unfortunately, my message didn't resonate with the voters," Bissaillon said. "We ran a clean campaign and I learned a lot. .... I wish Gail all the best. It's a great victory for her."

Edward MacDonald, who had been confident of a surge on Sunday, had already closed up his gathering at the American Legion in North Adams before we got there. The Chester town administrator had worked hard but couldn't catch Cariddi nor capture his hometown of Adams.

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