FRAMINGHAM – Yvonne Spicer, a vice president of advocacy and educational partnerships at the Museum of Science in Boston, received almost 55 percent of the the nearly 11,000 votes cast for Framingham’s first mayor in Tuesday’s preliminary election.
It was the first time ever Framingham voters could cast a vote for mayor in the community’s 317 year history.
“Honesty and integrity were the cornerstones of my position,” said Spicer when asked why she thought so many voters chose her on Tuesday.
Spicer was one of seven candidates on the ballot. The two individuals with the most votes yesterday advanced to the November 7 ballot.
Framingham’s first mayor will be sworn in on January 1. In April, by a very narrow margin, voters approved changing Framingham from a town to a city.
Finishing second was former Framingham Selectman and former Framingham state representative John Stefanini.
None of the other five mayoral candidates received more than 550 votes.
Spicer won 16 of the 18 Precincts and 8 of the nine city districts Tuesdays.
“I am ecstatic that we were able to do this,” said Spicer while celebrating with campaign workers and supporters at the Aegean restaurant in Framingham.
“Truly it was the ground game,’ said Spicer on why she was able to receive 2,780 more voters that the second place finisher.
“Whether we are knocking on doors or making phone calls, it is the consistency. And people got a chance to see who Yvonne Spicer was. This is a woman with a vision, and a 35-page platform; but she is also a person, we can talk to, and that we can get to know. And you know what she is real,” said Spicer to Source. “What she says, she means. She has lived her life with honesty and integrity. And she is going to do this job (of mayor). People believed it, and I delivered.”
Stefanini won Precincts 15 and 18, which is the newly formed District 8, which is also where he resides.
“I am honored and humbled by the support I have received by the voters of Framingham,” said Stefanini, who was one of the author’s of the new City of Framingham charter, as one of nine elected Charter Commissioners. “Today is a historic day for the new City of Framingham. The promise of the Charter is within our reach – of a transparent, accountable and participatory government.”
Spicer said “I feel confident going forward over the next six weeks, we are just going to keep moving with the same momentum and the same drive, but also making sure that more people get to know who we are, but also those that didn’t vote for me, that they get a chance to know me, and realize that I am in this for all of us.”
Stefanini, who will be looking to find thousands of votes to defeat Spicer, is hoping voters will get to know him and Spicer better through a series of five debates over the next six weeks.
“Framingham voters deserve a comprehensive and robust conversation about our future – and we, the two finalists, have an obligation to provide it to them by discussing issues and plans and not attacking each other’s character,” said Stefanini. “It is for that reason that I have already contacted my opponent to ask her to participate in 5 “Lincoln-Douglas” style debates between now and Election Day. It is my hope that these debates, sponsored by various civic, community, media and business organizations, will be conducted on a weekly basis in five different parts of the community. I look forward to participating in these debates and the conversation over the next six weeks leading up to the election on November 7.”
Spicer told Source she would do “debates” with Stefanini, but we did not discuss numbers nor formats.
Both Spicer and Stefanini planned to be back on the campaign today, Sept. 27.
“We need to continue this momentum into November,” said Spicer. “We need to focus on our ground game, making phone calls, and reaching out to voters.”
“We have some work to do to make up some votes and to get our message out to those who didn’t vote today,” said Stefanini to Source last night. “We are prepared to do the necessary work. We need to educate voters on this historic election in November. The Charter promised an increase in participation, transparency, and efficiency in our government. This will drive a community discussion neighborhood by neighborhood that will ignite engagement and increase involvement in the election process.”
Stefanini said will be bringing his vision to the neighborhoods.
About 27.5 percent of Framingham’s 39,996 voters participated in Tuesday’s preliminary election, which also identified four at-large council candidates for the November ballot, and narrowed the choices for district city council to two candidates in Districts 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7.
Voters will elect an 11-member City Council, comprised of two at-large councilors and one from each of the new 9 city districts.
Also in November, voters will elect a new School Committee comprised of one School Committee member from each of the 9 districts. The Current School Committee is seven members elected town-wide.
Yesterday, 10,994 registered voters cast a ballot. The number was less than those who decided to make Framingham a city in April.
One of the hopes for a new City of Framingham was for new candidates, bringing new voices to the government.
The two mayoral candidates who finished third and fourth Tuesday were mentioned often as new voices for Framingham. Eight votes separated third and fourth place.
Joshua Horrigan, 26, finished third with 545 votes.
“Tonight we are thankful for the tremendous amount of support we have received during this campaign. First off, I want to express my respect for the efforts of the top two candidates. I appreciate them both greatly for what they bring to the table. They are both people I enjoy being around on a personal level,” said Horrigan to Framingham Source. “With that being said, Framingham was not left with the two best choices. We will continue to believe that now is the time for change in our home. The fight goes on!”
Priscila Sousa was fourth with 537 votes.
“This race has been the experience of a lifetime. I’m humbled by every new voter my campaign brought to the polls and every young woman and every immigrant we’ve inspired to dream big. I love Framingham and will continue to find ways to serve its people,” said Sousa to Source. “I still believe we will be better if municipal government prioritizes listening to its people and I hope the City of Framingham appreciates the vision of its residents.”
Mark Tilden, a lawyer, was fifth with 439 votes.
Ben Neves-Grigg was sixth with 134 votes.
“What a wonderful experience! This entire mayoral journey has given me a complete reflection of our spectacular, diverse city! I deeply thank everyone that, not only, supported me but also those that took the time to consider me for mayor! I am humbled to have received such great encouragement. Most, from total strangers! You guys are AWESOME!” neves-Grigg sent to Source last night, after the results were announced. “Thanks to my wife, Rose and my family, you guys rock! I also want to thank all 6 of the other candidates for their kind dignity and respect in public and behind closed doors. Thank you and Godspeed!”
Dhruba Sen was last with 101 votes.
Spicer sent a “good luck” message to all of her opponent on Tuesday morning.
“We may not agree on how to approach things, but we all care about Framingham,” said Spicer about her opponents.
Voter turnout was the highest in Precinct 11 with 1,045 voters (36 percent).
Precinct 2 had 995 voters (31 percent turnout), followed by Precinct 4 with 991 voters (36 percent turnout).
As has been the case for years, Precincts 16 and 17 (District 9) had the lowest voter turnout.
Nine percent of the voters or 131 voters participated in Precinct 17 and 15 percent of voters or 164 voters participated in Precinct 16.
Besides narrowing choices for mayor and at-large council, yesterday also narrowed the names on the ballot for district city council to two for November.
The following candidates advanced to November:
District 1 – Charlie Sisitsky and Joseph Norton
District 3 – Adam Steiner and Joel Winett
District 4 – Mike Cannon and Amanda Shepard
District 5 – Dennis Giombetti and Robert Case
District 6 – Phil Ottaviani Jr. and Mike Rossi
District 7 – Margareth Shepard and Bill Lynch