Jennifer Macksey, celebrating with supporters at Mingo's, was the winner of the four-way race with 802 votes. Lynette Bond, left, with Councilors Keith Bona, Benjamin Lamb and Peter Oleskiewicz, took second with 611.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Voters decisively picked Lynette Bond and Jennifer Macksey as the top candidates for mayor of North Adams.
The two came in first and second in Tuesday's preliminary election that saw four women compete for the city's corner office for the first time in its 126-year history.
Macksey was the clear winner of the preliminary with 802 votes with Bond not far behind with 611. Out of the running were Aprilyn Carsno with 26 and Rachel Branch with 18.
Both Macksey and Bond had campaigned heavily with meet and greets, Facebook and online advertising, Main Street campaign headquarters and signs everywhere. On Tuesday night, they and a number of their supporters were sporting sunburns from being out at the polls in the sunny weather all day.
Their status as the obvious front-runners may have depressed turnout somewhat, as only 1,459 voters, or about 16 percent, of the city's 9,067 registered voters turned out.
Carsno had entered the race first but didn't do much public campaigning until the past month but did participate in a debate and voluntary profile hosted by iBerkshires. Branch, in her third time on the ballot, told iBerkshires she had been out every day meeting with voters. She did not participate in the debate, saying, as she has in the past, she does not run against candidates but for office.
Bond earlier had said she'd felt good about the day and had been anxious for the returns. She was cheered by her supporters afterward at her headquarters in the former J.J. Newberry.
"I am honored that I will be on the ballot in November. I feel touched, I feel honored I have the support that I received so I'm feeling good," she said. "I know I have a lot of work to do to engage more voters, and the real work begins tomorrow. But tonight we are going to celebrate."
While pizza arrived for Bond's supporters, Macksey was holding her after-election party at Mingo's, where the crowd donned in campaign T-shirts mingled and listened to music.
"I am grateful for my supporters and thankful for everyone who came out today," said Macksey. "I especially want to thank April and Rachel. It's a hard thing to put your name on the ballot and I have a lot of respect for that."
Like Bond, Macksey said the real campaign begins now.
"This is a great win but we still have a lot of work to do ahead of us, and I really look forward to talking to more residents and getting into neighborhoods, and I look forward to the next couple of weeks," she said.
This preliminary is on par with last one in 2017 that saw just more than 1,600 votes cast when a field of five was narrowed to current Mayor Thomas Bernard and former City Councilor Robert Moulton Jr.
The preliminary race was hotter in 2015 when the former mayor, John Barrett III, challenged incumbent Richard Alcombright in a three-person race that saw artist and developer Eric Rudd knocked out of the competition. That race drew about 28 percent of voters going to the polls, with 2,432 ballots cast.
"It went really smoothly. considering it was the assistant clerk's and my first election," City Clerk Cathleen King said. "The workers were incredible. They shared their experience. People came in and knew what they were doing and voted appropriately and with good humor. It was a very positive day."
She said voting was pretty steady except for a slowdown in mid-afternoon. Several voters came in to vote as the 8 p.m. wound down.