By Jonathan Phelps
---- — Congressman Edward Markey is moving up to the Senate after defeating Republican challenger Gabriel Gomez in yesterday’s special election. However, the votes coming in from North Shore cities and towns were split.
Markey, D-Malden, got the nod from Beverly, Ipswich, Marblehead, Salem and Swampscott, while Gomez won in Danvers, Hamilton, Peabody and Wenham.
With 99 percent of the precincts reporting last night, Markey had 638,811 votes to Gomez’s 520,307.
A third candidate, Richard Heos of the Twelve Visions Party, failed to receive even 1 percent of the vote from any of the communities.
Markey, 66, has served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 37 years, while Gomez, 47, a businessman and former Navy SEAL from Cohasset ran as a political newcomer. Markey will fill the remaining term of John Kerry, who was appointed secretary of state earlier this year.
“Massachusetts is not a Gomez-type state. It is not a Republican state,” said Charles Berfield of Danvers, who voted for Markey at the Holton Richmond Middle School. “We tried that with Scott Brown, and that didn’t work out so well.”
Calling the election “sort of lackluster,” Arthur Thompson of Beverly said he voted for Markey at Centerville Elementary School.
“I want someone there who is going to support the president,” Thompson said. “Markey is a Washington insider, but he will help the president get things done in Washington.”
Donald Ganim, who voted at Winthrop Elementary School in Hamilton, said he voted for Gomez.
“I like his integrity and commitment,” he said. “He is a fresh face, with fresh ideas. He is not a political insider.”
Danvers resident Jeannie Monahan agreed.
“I am looking for fresh blood,” Monahan said. “Markey has been in for 37 years and has not made any big changes.”
While low turnouts were expected across the state, many North Shore towns and cities reported higher vote counts than expected.
Out of Salem’s 25,932 registered voters, 6,528 cast ballots — a 25 percent turnout.
Hamilton Town Clerk Jane Wetson said the polls were steady all day in that town. There was about a 30 percent turnout.
“There was even a little line when we opened,” she said. “Everybody said it was going to be slow, so I think a lot of clerks are pleasantly surprised.”
In Wenham, there was about a 34 percent turnout.
“I kind of thought that based on the absentee ballots taken out that we would see a decent turnout,” said Trudy Reid, Wenham’s town clerk.
“I think it is a little better than expected,” said Mary Gallant, a poll warden at Centerville School in Beverly, which reported a 28 percent voter turnout citywide.
Rita Carter, a warden at Holton Richmond Middle School, said voters came in at a good pace throughout the day. The town reported a 23 percent turnout.
“I didn’t think we would have much of a turnout,” she said. “But on a hot day, they were here.”
Salem resident Josh Gillis said he almost didn’t vote.
“I was underwhelmed by both candidates,” Gillis said. “Gomez’s only platform seemed to be that he was a Navy Seal and he wasn’t old.”
In the end he voted for Markey — the winner.
Staff writer Jonathan Phelps can be reached at 978-338-2527 or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at JPhelps_SN.
Special Election Results
Gomez, R Markey, D Heos, TVP
Beverly 3,319 (47%) 3,781 (53%) 22 (0%)
Danvers 2,621 (55%) 2,137 (45%) 20 (0%)
Hamilton 1,040 (59%) 728 (41%) 2 (0%)
Ipswich 1,631 (48%) 1,778 (52%) 7 (0%)
Marblehead 2,647 (47%) 3,028 (53%) 17 (0%)
Peabody 4,849 (51%) 4,701 (49%) 48 (0%)
Salem 2,399 (37%) 4,084 (63%) 27 (0%)
Swampscott 1,378 (41%) 2,000 (58%) 8 (0%)
Wenham 545 (57%) 409 (43%) 3 (0%)