Haverhill voters chose to have a faceoff between Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini and City Council Vice President Colin F. LePage the first week of November.
Yesterday’s preliminary election saw the nine-term mayor receive 2,978 votes to LePage’s 1,345 and electoral first timer Guy E. Cooper garner 931 votes. About 12% of registered voters turned out. Fiorentini called his first place showing an “overwhelming vote of confidence.”
“This is a clear vote of confidence. A clear vote that the people of Haverhill think we are moving forward and we should continue to move in that direction. This was a vote of confidence tonight, and I thank the people of Haverhill,” he told WHAV during his victory celebration downtown.
Fiorentini said people notice the new buildings downtown, the new Caleb Dustin Hunking School, street and sidewalk replacements and other improvements.
“It was important for me to stress all of this didn’t just happen. It didn’t happen by accident. It happened because we had a plan. We worked hard. We worked the plan and that’s how it happened,” he said.
The mayor said Cooper “should be commended” for his vote count and that “he’s got a good future ahead of him.” He said he expects tax affordability will be the emphasis of the final weeks of the campaign.
LePage, who did not have a formal party so that he could celebrate his wife’s milestone birthday, emphasized the short campaign season.
“I’m grateful for all of the support and hard work of my campaign team and volunteers over these last five weeks. It has only been a five-week campaign,” he noted.
During the campaign, LePage emphasized better tracking and allocation of taxpayers’ money and faster decision making on priority issues. He thanked Cooper for his service as a public safety officer and “courage to challenge the current administration.”
Cooper, surrounded by his family and supporters, told WHAV his work schedule as a Haverhill police officer 60-70-hours-per-week hampered his campaigning. He is happy, though, to have worked with many good people and talked with so many citizens.
“I’m very proud of my team. I’m very proud of all of my supporters, everybody that came out and voted for me and everybody that supported everything that I stood for. I can finally look at myself in the mirror and be honest with myself and say ‘Hey, I gave it everything I could,’” he said.
Cooper said he is not a politician, but learned much from the campaign. He said he was urged by supporters to consider another run for public office, but he said he first needs some “decompression time.”