LYNN — In the closely watched preliminary for Ward 2 City Councilor, Richard Starbard and Gina O’Toole will face off in the final.
Starbard, 51, owner of Rick’s Auto Collision in Revere, topped the ticket with a 48 percent margin, or 564 votes, while O’Toole, a 51-year-old teacher aide in Lynn Public Schools, came in second with 367 votes or 31 percent of the tally. They bested Christopher Magrane’s 189 votes and Peter Grocki, who got four dozen.
“To be honest, I was nervous going in,” said Starbard. “Every candidate worked very hard. I would knock on doors in an area and sometimes the other three had already been at the same house. I hope the difference was my experience and my perspective. We need someone on the council with business, consistent service, and municipal budget experience, and I’m that person.”
O’Toole said she is not discouraged by the second place finish.
“I think I can win it,” she said. “I’m planning to head right back out to door knock, walk and talk, take notes and keep going.”
In the mayor’s race, state Sen. Thomas M. McGee outdistanced incumbent Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy by a margin of 72 to 28 percent. McGee captured 4,219 votes to Kennedy’s 1,632. They will have a rematch in November.
“I want to thank the people who came out to vote today and my campaign workers,” he said. “Today was a good start to looking toward the final election on Nov. 7. We are back to work on Wednesday morning.”
Kennedy congratulated McGee on his strong showing.
“But we have to remember this is primary,” she said. “Voter turnout was extremely low and we have not had a face-to-face conversation before voters as to where we stand on the issues facing the city. I am looking forward to the debates.”
The turnout was a scant 11.5 percent or 6,043 of the city’s 52,418 registered voters.
That’s less than City Clerk Janet Rowe predicted. She expected 17 percent or 8,900 voters to go to the polls.
With the exception of the mayor’s race, it was mostly a night for the incumbents. City Councilor-at-Large Brian LaPierre topped the field with 2,753 votes while the other incumbents also captured top spots. G. Buzzy Barton garnered 2,434, and Hong Net had 2,187. Brian Field finished a strong fourth with 2,101, Taso Nikolakopoulos followed close behind with 1,948, Richard Ford captured 1,895 votes, Jaime Figueroa had 1,272 votes, while John Ladd finished last with 930 votes. They will all face each other again in November.
LaPierre said he was thrilled and humbled by the first place finish.
“We’ve done hard work over the last two years, and in the words of Bill Belichick, it’s on to Cincinnati, also known as election day,” he said.
Field thanked his campaign staff, his family and friends for their hard work.
“It’s a good start,” he said. “We look forward to continuing talking and listening to voters. I think that approach has worked well for me. That’s what I do. I’m looking forward to working as a team with the councilors to move the city forward.”
In the race for seven seats on the School Committee, three incumbents captured the most votes. Donna Coppola was the top vote getter with 3,102, Lorraine Gately received 2,645, John Ford was next with 2,382. Challenger Brian Castellanos was next with 1,828, while incumbent Jared Nicholson received 1,786 votes. The rest of the hopefuls followed with Michael Satterwhite at 1,492, Jessica Murphy with 1,132, Elizabeth Rosario Gervacio received 1,103, Natasha Megie-Maddrey got 957 votes while Cherish Casey received 689 votes. They will face each other for a second time in November.
In Ward 1 City Councilor Wayne Lozzi scored a first place position with 1,030 votes, while challenger William O’Shea III got 885 votes.
“I want to thank Ward 1 voters for their support,” Lozzi said. “While I came out on top, there’s much work to be done on the campaign, within the ward and on the council side. It’s a privilege and honor to serve as Ward 1 Councilor and I hope to continue serving as a voice for the ward.”
In Ward 3, City Council President Darren Cyr was first with 384 votes, while his opponent, George Meimeteas, received 244 votes.
In the rematch between City Councilor Dianna Chakoutis Marven Hyppolite, the incumbent received 358 votes to the challenger’s 153.