Election 2013: Palmer and East Boston Voters Block Casinos, Walsh Wins in Boston

Updated at 12:50 a.m. Wednesday

Voters across the region went to the polls Tuesday to weigh-in on municipal leadership, casino referendums and a special Massachusetts Senate election. 

RESULTS ROUNDUP: NEPR
BOSTON FOCUS: WBUR Boston
LIVE UPDATES: The Republican and MassLive 

A Rough Day for Casinos

By just 93 votes, voters in Palmer blocked Mohegan Sun’s proposal to build a casino there, according to results posted at town hall. With 100 percent of votes counted, the tally was 2,657 to 2,564.  

But Mohegan Sun officials were not yet conceding. They say a pro-casino pollwatcher observed a malfunctioning voting machine. The company plans to ask the town for a full or partial recount on Wednesday.

Should the defeat stand, MGM’s Springfield plan would be the sole surviving bid for the western Massachusetts casino license.  Voters in West Springfield defeated a gaming plan from Hard Rock in September.

It was a similarly tough day for Suffolk Downs, which is trying to build a casino in East Boston and Revere, Voters in Revere approved the casino, but East Boston voted no. Favorable votes were needed in both communities before the track could formally apply to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission for a license.

Once considered a shoo-in to win Greater Boston’s casino license, the proposal suffered a setback last month when Caesars Entertainment was dropped from the project amid fears the gambling conglomerate would fail a state background check. 

Walsh Wins Boston Mayoral Election

State Rep. Martin Walsh will be the next mayor of Boston. City Councilor John Connolly conceded around 9:30 p.m. 

The 46-year-old Walsh was relying in part on support from labor organizations. Walsh was a union official before being elected to the Massachusetts House in 1997.

Connolly made education his core issue. The 40-year-old father of three was also the only candidate to enter the race before longtime Mayor Tom Menino announced that he would not run again.

Central and Western Mass Mayoral Races

Among the other cities picking a mayor was Holyoke, where Alex Morse won a second term. Morse was elected two years ago at age 22. He beat challenger Jeff Stanek 5,274 to 4,425.

In Easthampton, 4 candidates were vying to succeed Mike Tautznik, who’s been the only mayor since Easthampton changed its charter to become a city in 1996. According to the city clerk’s office, Tautznik’s assistant Karen Cadieux handily won that race with 2,568 votes. Nancy Lee Sykes finished second with 1,627 votes.

In Chicopee, incumbent Michael Bissonnette trailed far behind challenger Rich Kos. With 15 of 20 precincts reporting, the city says Kos had 5,700 votes to Bissonnette’s 3,949.

West Springfield’s new mayor will be Ed SullivanThe former city council president defeated the incumbent mayor, Greg Neffinger. With all results in, the town clerk’s office says Sullivan received 4,432 votes to Neffinger’s 2,422.

In Westfield, incumbent Daniel Knapik was re-elected. Citing unofficlal results, the city clerk’s office says Knapik had 4,538 votes to challenger Michael Roeder’s 4,205.

Worcester’s mayor easily won another term, according to results posted on the city’s website. Joseph Petty received 8,854 votes, with City Councilor Konnie Lukes finishing second with 4,127 votes.

Humason Takes State Senate Special Election

Voters in some western Massachusetts communities cast ballots for a new state senator, to fill the seat formerly held by Republican Mike Knapik, who resigned to take a job at Westfield State University.

Holyoke City Councilor David Bartley, a Democrat, called Republican state Representative Don Humason of Westfield Tuesday night to concede the race, according to Bartley consultant Bruce Adams. Adams says Bartley left a message for Humason. He says Humason won by about 1900 votes.

Humason says this election was one of the nicest he’s ever been involed in, and he gives a lot of the credit for that to his opponent.

“As a candidate running against another candidate, it’s always refreshing to see a race run on issues instead of on dirty tricks and sneaky politics and things like that,” Humason says.

This is a much-needed win for the Massachusetts Republican Party. Once Humason is sworn in, the GOP will hold just 4 seats in the 40-member state Senate. He says his priorities include boosting state funding for Western Mass communities, and also making volleyball, which was invented in Holyoke, the official team sport of the commonwealth.

The district includes Agawam, Granville, Holyoke, Montgomery, Russell, Southwick, Tolland, Westfield, Easthampton, Southampton and parts of Chicopee.

Connecticut Elections (find results here)

There are new people running two of Connecticut’s larger cities, New Haven and Stamford.

Democratic State Sen. Toni Harp on Tuesday became the first woman elected to run New Haven. She replaces retiring veteran Mayor John DeStefano, who served 20 years.

In Stamford, management consultant David Martin returned the mayor’s office to Democratic hands, defeating former Republican Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele.

Elsewhere in the state, Republican Joseph Maturo Jr. won re-election as mayor of East Haven, a community still dealing with the effects of a police bias scandal. In New Britain, 26-year-old Republican Erin Stewart, daughter of former Mayor Tim Stewart, won her father’s old job.

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said voter turnout was relatively light, predicting about 30 percent of registered voters cast ballots.

The Associated Press, State House News Service and New England Public Radio’s Henry Epp, Adam Frenier, Jill Kaufman, Kari Njiiri and Sam Hudzik contributed to this report.

An earlier version of this story included a typo in the results on the Palmer casino referendum.