John Barrett, a former 26-year mayor of North Adams, won a special Democratic primary Tuesday for state representative in northern Berkshire County.
Barrett rode a strong showing in North Adams and Adams to victory. He beat the closest of his three rivals, Stephanie Bosley, by almost a two-to-one margin in those two communities.
Source: Vote tallies were provided by clerk's office in each community, with the exception of Hancock and Florida. Those totals come from The Berkshire Eagle.
Now the 70-year old Barrett is one step away from being a rookie legislator. In an interview Tuesday evening, he called the whole thing overwhelming.
"I've been in this game a long time, and to end up in this position at this point of my life, I'm thrilled because it allows me to continue to serve the people not only of North Adams, but of northern Berkshire," Barrett said.
Barrett said he believes his message about state funding inequalities for the district was a popular one with voters.
Lawmakers have "got to start paying attention to the cities and towns of Massachusetts," Barrett said. "If they want to get Massachusetts as a complete state, they have to remember that Berkshire County is part of it."
Turnout was something of a mixed bag throughout the nine-town district.
In North Adams, about 28 percent of the city's more than 8,600 voters turned out. That's around 10 percent more than a mayoral primary held last month.
But in Williamstown, the number was closer to 20 percent, or just over 1,000. Town Clerk Mary Kennedy had predicted a better turnout. She said Tuesday afternoon that she wasn't sure why polls were slower than anticipated.
"Maybe the way it fell after a holiday? I don't know why," Kennedy said. "The candidates have all been active as far as their campaigning, and there's signs all over."
Next up, Barrett will face Republican Christine Canning in the special election on November 7. Canning was unopposed in the GOP primary. This is the second time in the last year Canning has run for a legislative seat. Last fall, she lost to Adam Hinds in a race for the state Senate.
The winner of the House seat will serve out the final 14 months of the late Gailanne Cariddi's unfinished term. Cariddi died in June after being elected to a 4th term last November.