Ted Siefer's City Hall: Manchester elections held thrill of victory and near victory
And superstitions aside, some of the credit had to go to Patrick Arnold, the 30-year-old Democratic alderman who was a political nobody a year ago. Besides coming within 1,000 votes of the mayor, Arnold denied Gatsas the clean sweep he had in the previous elections.
But there's another conclusion to be drawn from the election: Gatsas prevailed despite what appears to be an effective get-out-the-vote operation by the city Democrats.
O'Neil received nearly 2,000 more votes than he did in 2011. In addition, the Democrats could claim the only takedown of an incumbent: Ward 10's Phil Greazzo, who lost to Bill Barry.
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Based on the atmosphere at the Derryfield versus the Pint Publik House, where Arnold held his campaign party Tuesday night, you could have been confused as to who the victor was. Then and since, Arnold has been pretty excited about his performance in the election.
So what's next for Arnold? He gave the distinct impression that city voters have not seen the last of him.
"Between now and then, we're going to continue to be talking about issues of importance to Manchester residents and continue to be involved in the process," he said.
Things got pretty tense in Ward 10, where Greazzo, a strong fiscal conservative, was defeated by Barry, a former police officer who had strong union support.
From Greazzo supporters there were accusations of public employee intimidation and campaign improprieties, and from Barry backers came harsh allegations over Greazzo's management of the Manchester Dog Park, his, ahem, pet project.
Apparently, she was less than gracious.
Greazzo said he didn't want to go into detail and "stir the pot."
"He called to apologize," Greazzo said, referring to the interaction with Barry's wife. "Bill and I were friends before the race started; we were Facebook friends," he said. "When he told me he was going to run, I pointed out some of the pitfalls. Politics is a rough game."
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There may have been another Republican casualty in Tuesday's election: Will Infantine, who again lost his bid for an alderman-at-large seat.
"I'm done with city politics," he said. "I've given 10 years. I've seen the good, the bad and the ugly." Infantine declined go into detail on his decision, but he did note that this year's city election was the catalyst.
He first won election to the at-large seat in 2011 with 6,829 votes, and he won it again on Tuesday with nearly the same number, 6,811 votes.
After the excitement of the election, the school board meeting Tuesday feels a bit like having to go back to class after summer vacation. But there is something exciting about the meeting: it's going to be held at Dyn, the premiere Internet technology company at the Millyard. Field trip!
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