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Minorities Make History In Mass. Mayor Races

Minority candidates made history in Massachusetts mayoral elections Tuesday, while it was a mixed result for many long-term incumbents.

In Lawrence, state Rep. William Lantigua became the first Latino to be elected mayor in state history, defeating city councilor David Abdoo. Incumbent Mayor Michael Sullivan was barred from running again due to term limits.

In Newton, Setti Warren, an Iraq war veteran and former aide to Sen. John Kerry, became the first black mayor of the upscale Boston suburb as he defeated state Rep. Ruth Balser, who was trying to become the city's first woman mayor.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino won an unprecedented fifth consecutive term. Unofficial returns gave Menino about 57 percent of the vote to 42 percent for City Council President Michael Flaherty. Menino is already the city's longest-serving mayor, having been in office for 161/2 years.

Springfield's incumbent mayor was also returned to office, as Domenic Sarno won a second two-year term by handily defeating City Councilor Bud Williams. Voters also approved a change in the city's charter calling for mayors to serve four-year terms, beginning in 2011.

But other incumbent mayors took it on the chin.

John Barrett of North Adams, the state's longest-serving mayor, was ousted in his bid for a 14th two-year term by City Councilor Richard Alcombright.

In Worcester, the state's second largest city, incumbent Mayor Konstantina Lukes lost her bid for another term. Lukes was defeated by Joseph O'Brien, a former school committee member. Two other candidates were also on the ballot.

In Brockton, incumbent James Harrington was defeated by city councilor Linda Balzotti, who will be the city's first woman mayor. And in Westfield, City Councilor Daniel Knapik ousted Mayor Michael Boulanger.

In Lynn, unofficial returns showed challenger Judith Flanagan Kennedy leading incumbent Mayor Edward J. Clancy Jr. by just 27 votes out of more than 16,000 cast in the North Shore city.

Other incumbent mayors who survived re-election challenges included Thomas Koch in Quincy, who defeated former Mayor William Phelan in a race that matched the bitterness of their 2007 contest in which Koch ousted Phelan, then a three-term mayor.

Northampton Mayor Mary Claire Higgins also survived a stiff challenge from city councilor Michael Bardsley to win her sixth term in office.

A new mayor was selected by voters in Fall River, with William Flanagan easily defeating Cathy Ann Viveiros. The incumbent, Robert Correia, finished third in the preliminary election.

This program aired on November 3, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

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