By Seth Daniel and John Lynds
District 1 is known for nail-biter Council elections, and Tuesday was no exception as the top two candidates – Stephen Passacantilli and Lydia Edwards – battled it out to a close finish, with Passacantilli winning overall by 77 votes but Edwards winning Charlestown.
In the final vote tally throughout the district, which includes Charlestown, East Boston and the North End, Passacantilli prevailed by one percentage point over Edwards, 47 percent to 46 percent (3,624 to 3,547).
Candidate Margaret Farmer was eliminated from the race, but garnered a very important 522 votes, votes that are now up for grabs. Many wonder in which campaign the ‘Farmer Effect’ might lie in the City Election, which is Nov. 7.
Passacantilli won with an impressive showing in the North End – where his base was enlivened and came out strong to put him over the top. However, that was curbed by Edwards’s wins in Charlestown and East Boston – the two most populous neighborhoods in the district.
Passacantilli held his post-election time at the Knights of Columbus and told his supporters that he was grateful to top the ticket, but the work has just begun.
“It was exciting to be on the ballot for the first time, and I’m thrilled to have topped the ticket,” said Passacantilli. “This is only the halfway point and there’s still a lot of work that needs to get done. I’m proud of the grassroots campaign we’ve built across the entire district, and I look forward to continue listening to residents about what matters most to them.”
Edwards said she was excited to have won the neighborhood, and is ready to march to the Nov. 7 election – challenging Passacantilli to three debates.
“I am thrilled with the response of the voters,” said Edwards. “I look forward to a substantive discussion of the pressing issues facing this district. We have only begun our debate about our vision for the district. We have wildly different perspectives on how to move the city forward but I look forward to highlighting those distinctions. I am thrilled with the election turn out and the support I received. I look forward to a substantive contest and challenge my opponent to debates in each three of the neighborhoods we are vying to represent.”
Though it was not a key factor in the campaign, it should not be lost in the numbers that Edwards is the first minority candidate, male or female, to ever win the Charlestown vote in a City election.
For Edwards, she won Charlestown’s seven precincts by a close vote of 1,317 to Passacantilli’s 1,252.
Edwards’s victory in the Town was buoyed, ironically, by votes coming out of the two Edwards Middle School polling places – which are Ward 2 Precinct 5 and Ward 2, Precinct 6.
In those precincts, Edwards won 154-133 (2-5) and 262-224 (2-6) – all of which are stalwart Townie voting blocks.
Another key area for Edwards was Ward 2, Precinct 2, which encompasses the Navy Yard and Newtown – where Edwards won 234-212.
Passacantilli was strong in the Mishawum area and the Bunker Hill Street areas.
He had key victories in Ward 2, Precinct 1, where he cruised to victory 236-174. Passacantilli also scored a key victory at Ward 2 Precinct 7 (Golden Age Center), where he won 190-145.
Edwards also prevailed in her home neighborhood of East Boston, as she did in Charlestown, but with a larger margin.
In Eastie, Edwards topped the ticket with 1,824 votes to Passacantilli’s 1,281 votes. Farmer rounded out the Eastie election with 378 votes.