Bianchi Squeaks Out Victory in Pittsfield
Mayor-elect Daniel Bianchi in a swirl of supporters at Mazzeo's.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The cheers for were so loud in the banquet hall at the old Mazzeo's Ristorante that results were being drowned out as they were read off.
The lead see-sawed back and forth as the city's 14 precincts reported in but it wasn't until the very last that Daniel Bianchi was able to claim victory by a mere 106 votes.
The final official tally was Bianchi at 6,144 to Peter Marchetti at 6,038, revealing that the city continues to be evenly divided.
The victor arrived late to the growing crowd of supporters and city councilors, having stopped first to speak to Marchetti and Mayor James Ruberto.
Bianchi warmly thanked his family and supporters who made the win possible.
Bianchi pledged 'inclusive government' and a crackdown on crime. Right, the numbers show a city having trouble making up its mind. Bianchi won Wards 7 & 6; Marchetti Wards 4 & 3. The rest were split.
"Throughout this election, your voices and concerns have been heard, and they will continue to be heard. Because all along I've talked about having an inclusive government, where everybody's opinion matters, and no one will be marginalized for having an opinion different than mine."
See video of Bianchi's speech here.
The close vote recalled Ruberto's equally narrow win over Bianchi two years ago; the tone of the campaign was similar, too, as Bianchi and Marchetti, vice president of the council and perceived by many as Ruberto's heir, battled over the summer.
Bianchi had come out on top in the September preliminary, about 700 votes behind in second place.
"I thought it was either going to a big win for me or a big loss for me but I never expected it to be this close," said Marchetti at the Berkshire Hills Country Club, where his supporters had hoped to celebrate his victory. "I don't know what more I can say. The voters spoke and they chose Dan. I will do all I can to make sure Pittsfield moves in the direction that's best for Piittsfield."
The four-term councilor said he would decide in the morning whether to call for a recount. If he does, it will be second recount in the last two elections.
In any case, Marchetti said he would serve out his post and continue working with the community projects in which he's been involved. He also said he'd offered his help to his opponent.
Bianchi touched on several of the key campaign issues in his victory speech, particularly crime. "I'd like to put another 1,000 eyes on the streets through a neighborhood watch program.
Marchetti gets some hugs after coming up short in the voting. See Marchetti's speech here.
Also seated were incumbent at-large Councilors Melissa Mazzeo and Kevin Sherman, and newcomers Barry Clairmont and Churchill Cotton, currently on the School Committee.
Many expressed that the at-large election was a difficult choice for them because of the number of capable candidates.
"I wish I could have voted for five. I really was stuck," said Donna Todd Rivers.
Nicholas Caccamo, who came in sixth out of eight, expressed gratitude and pride in his campaign supporters while at Mazzeo's to congratulate the new mayor-elect.
In Ward 2, Kevin Morandi won in his second try for the seat with incumbent Peter White losing by 300 votes in his write-in attempt. White had tried and lost for the state representative seat this summer.
In Ward 3, incumbent Paul Capitanio easily fended off a challenge by Jeffery Ferrin.
"I'm disappointed, obviously," said Ferrin. "But I'm glad we have a great new mayor and some good new counselors, and hopefully we'll see some positive changes."
In Ward 4, Christopher Connell won also on his second try, defeating Ozias Vincellette who had hoped to reacquire the seat. The seat was vacated by Michael Ward.
In Ward 5, incumbent Jonathan Lothrop was the winner by six votes over J. Joseph Breault. No word if Breault will request a recount.
On the School Committe, Kathleen Amuso, Alfred Barbalunga, Daniel Elias and Katherine Yon were all re-elected and James Conant and Terry M. Kinnas were elected.
All other candidates were running unopposed. Election results can be found here.
Editor Tammy Daniels and reporters Andy McKeever and Joe Durwin contributed to this article.