By reaching out to constituencies who had not previously participated in the political process, Bill Carpenter is elected new Mayor of Brockton by 55 votes.
Fifty-five votes. Less than one percent of the 14,255 that were cast in Tuesday’s election. That was the margin for the city’s mayor-elect Bill Carpenter, who defeated two-term incumbent Mayor Linda Balzotti.
Though Balzotti said she will ask for a recount, her speech Tuesday night appeared to acknowledge her defeat.
Carpenter said in the end the margin won’t matter.
“The election is over, and what matters is that the people have spoken,” he said after the polls closed. “I’m ready to work on behalf of all the citizens of Brockton.”
It was a raucous scene at Joe Angelo’s Cafe on Main Street, with several hundred of Carpenter’s supporters cheering, climbing on furniture and hugging one another as music blared. Carpenter, 56, had to wade through a press of well-wishers just to make his way into the venue.
At one point, Carpenter stood on top of the bar, holding a microphone, and shouted: “This is our (expletive) city!”
Meanwhile, the atmosphere at the Maui restaurant on the south side, where Balzotti had gathered with her supporters, was the opposite.
Balzotti, 52, stood before her supporters and saw the puzzled looks on their faces as she began talking about helping her challenger transition to the mayor’s job.
“I’m sorry, I thought you all knew,” Balzotti said as she held a microphone, looking out to a sea of faces. “I’m sorry … Mr. Carpenter won by 55 votes.”
Minutes earlier, the Balzotti campaign had called the race for the mayor. People began celebrating for several minutes. They were unaware of Carpenter’s win until she got on stage.
Then, the crowd began chanting, “Recount! Recount!”
“We will ask for a recount, but in the interim he has, right now, he has won, and so we need to honor that for now,” Balzotti told her supporters. “We need to try to work with him as he tries to transition in.”
Carpenter, who seized the mantle of change, said his promise to aggressively fight crime and give residents tax relief resonated with voters.
But what ultimately allowed him to unseat Balzotti, Carpenter said, was the diverse support he earned by reaching out to constituencies who had not previously participated in the political process.
“Many of my volunteers had never worked on a campaign before, and many of the people who voted for me had never cast a ballot,” Carpenter said.
Enterprise staff writers