LYNN — State Sen. Thomas McGee (D-Lynn) swept every precinct in the city on his way to defeating two-term Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy Tuesday night.
McGee outdistanced the mayor by a margin of 64 to 35 percent. The mayor-elect captured 9,442 votes to Kennedy’s 5,174.
Kennedy conceded early in the evening and called McGee to wish him well.
“I’ve had many jobs over the last 40 years of my life, but this is the first time I’ve been fired,” she told supporters at the Franco-American War Veterans Post. “I know for certain I could not have been your mayor for the last eight years with the long hours, the stress, the criticism, and life in a fishbowl that is this job, without the love trust and support of my friends and family…”
In a jubilant celebration across town at Trio’s Mexican Grill, McGee told the packed restaurant he’s looking forward to the next four years.
“Wow,” he said.
“Working over the last eight months, there have been so many people who put their lives on hold to help make this happen,” he said. “It’s not just about me, it’s about how we will work together to make the city a better place and a city we all believe in. I couldn’t have done it without all the people who helped.”
Despite her skills in six debates, Kennedy could not overcome a devastating defeat in the September primary. The mayor was trounced by nearly 2,600 of the 5,900 votes cast.
It didn’t help Kennedy that the city is in the midst of a financial crisis. The number of police officers and firefighters are down and there is disagreement about the size of the city’s budget deficit.
The mayor supported the failed proposal to build a pair of much-needed middle schools which would have raised the average tax bill by $200 for the next two decades. Opponents, who said the no vote last spring was based on the location of a proposed school on Parkland Avenue not the tax hike, insist the Kennedy administration failed to include residents when deciding locations.
Notably absent was any support from the Massachusetts Republican Party. Republican Gov. Charlie Baker did not come to the city to endorse his fellow Republican.
The McGee name has long been connected to city politics. Older voters still remember favors former House Speaker Thomas W. McGee did for their family.
In her parting remarks, Kennedy hinted that her political career may not be over.
“It’s too early to say where life will lead me next,” she said. “But I hear there will be a state senate seat that will be opening in the next couple of months, so stay tuned and don’t lose my phone number.”