Newton Votes Out 2 Incumbents; Welcomes Siegel, Kalis, Schwartz and Gomberg
Results from contested races in Newton's fall 2011 municipal election. Stay tuned to Patch for updates and comments from candidates!
Updated 9:48 a.m. with comments from other candidates.
In an election where just 18 percent of the voting population in Newton made it out to the polls, two incumbents were ousted and several new faces will join the Board of Aldermen and School Committee.
One of those new faces, Steve Siegel, celebrated his victory last night alongside friends and family at the Bocca Bella Cafe in Auburndale.
"I'm exhausted but I'm very satisfied," Siegel said. "It's been a long and hard campaign and I'm very satisfied [with the result]."
Siegel beat out Ward 5 School Committee incumbent Sue Rosenbaum, a race that he also fought during the 2009 municipal election.
The difference this year, though, was a victory for Siegel, who won the race by a margin of 1,168 votes.
For a full set of numbers and unofficial results, click the .pdf to the right.
As for what he looks forward to working on, Siegel said he has a few agenda items he's looking forward to "digging into."
"Life on the inside [of the committee] will look very different than life on the outside," Siegel said. "I think I have a lot of learning to do over the next couple months."
The closest of yesterday's races came in Ward 4, where Diana Fisher Gomberg and Josh Krintzman stayed close in early poll numbers -- at one point just 83 votes apart. As the final precincts rolled in, Fisher Gomberg pulled ahead and took the seat with a 264 vote advantage over Krintzman.
Gomberg will take the School Committee seat currently held by Jonathan Yeo. Yeo, who moved to Ward 2 earlier this year, beat opponent Margaret Albright for the seat vacated by current School Committee Vice Chair Reenie Murphy.
Albright, who gathered with supporters at The Cherry Tree Tuesday night, said her initial reaction to the results was that of disappointment.
Moving forward, Albright says she is a bit discouraged and is not sure what the future holds for her involvement with the School Committee and Newton Public Schools. Family matters, she said, are a priority at the moment.
"I don't know what will happen," Albright said. "I do a lot of things for a living in terms of education [and] at this point I think I’ll just go and work for the people who pay me to do this."
Yeo beat out Albright by more than 2,400 votes in a race that has received a lot of attention in recent months after court appeals were filed against Yeo's Ward 2 residency.
"I am very happy that the voters of Newton were able to have a choice for Ward 2 School Committee and that they overwhelmingly elected me," Yeo said in an emailed statement Wednesday. "I look forward to working with the committee, including my three new colleagues, over the next two years."
As for the future of the School Committee, Albright says she hopes her ideas will stick with those who were elected and the group will look into improvement of science and math curriculum as well as full-day kindergarten.
"If [the committee] does not push the superintendent and administration [to full-day kindergarten], then they have failed the children of Newton," Albright said.
Over in Ward 6, incumbent Charlie Shapiro was voted out of his alderman-at-large seat, coming in around 1,900 votes short of fellow alderman-at-large incumbent Vicki Danberg and nearly 1,700 less than that of challenger Greg Schwartz.
Shapiro, though, had a positive outlook Tuesday night at O'Hara's Pub in Newton Highlands, noting that he does not have to be part of the Board of Aldermen to make a difference in his home city.
"I’m from here, I love the city, I want to continue doing things that are in the best interest of the city," Shapiro said. "I think there's a lot I can do whether I'm an elected official or not."
Shapiro congratulated Danberg and Schwartz on their "terrific team effort" and said he hopes to remain involved with the board and the city in the coming months and years.
"There's a lot to work on in the city and a lot of challenges here and just because we change people on the board does not magically make those challenges go away," he said. "I definitely want to stay involved and I'm looking forward to it."
In the Ward 8 alderman-at-large race, incumbent Mitch Fischman retained his seat while newcomer David Kalis moved into the spot vacated by John Freedman.
Both Kalis and Fischman beat out a third candidate, Tom Sheff, by a fairly wide margin, with Sheff receiving about 18 percent of the Ward 8 alderman-at-large vote.
"I am happy to be re-elected to my sixth term on the Board of Aldermen. I worked hard for the last several months in my winning bid and look forward to serving two more years," Fischman said in an emailed statement Tuesday night. "Congrats also to David Kalis who ran a superb election campaign that involved a whole campaign network and constant outreach to Newton voters. David also sat in on tons of aldermen meetings to get grounded on the issues facing Newton to be able to immediately do his job better when the new term begins next year."
The sixth and final contested race came in Ward 1, where incumbents Allan Ciccone Jr. and Carleton Merrill defeated challenger Janet Sterman.
According to the unofficial results from the Newton Election Commission, just 9,841 registered voters -- of a total 54,102 in the city -- came out to the polls yesterday. Comparatively, the 2010 state election brought out 63 percent of the city's registered voters and 41 percent cast ballots in the 2009 municipal election.
Within the wards and precincts, some of the highest participating sections of the city included Ward 4 Precinct 2, Ward 5 Precinct 2 and Precincts 2-4 in Ward 6.
Stay tuned to Patch today for updates and comments from candidates!
A full list of candidates as well as corresponding Q&A profiles (for contested and non-contested races) is available in our Fall 2011 Newton Municipal Election guide.