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Vieau Is Clear Winner In Chicopee's Mayoral Race; Westfield Too Close To Call

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WAMC
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   Two experienced politicians bested first time candidates in races for mayor in two western Massachusetts cities Tuesday. But in one case, it was a squeaker. 

  Don Humason, the State Senator who has held elected office since 2003, won a narrow unofficial victory in the race for Mayor of Westfield over first time candidate Mike McCabe, a captain in the Westfield Police Department.

"The totals are in and the count that seperates Captain McCabe and myself is 97 votes, " Humason announced to supporters in the grill room at East Mountain Country Club.

Humason said he and McCabe had spoken by phone and agreed not to claim victory, or concede defeat until absentee ballots are counted and the election results are certified by the City Clerk, a process that is expected to take a couple of days.

Thanking his supporters, Humason said he had prepared two speeches – one for victory and one for defeat – but not a third for an uncertain outcome.

" I've got to hand it to the voters of the city of Westfield, you keep it interesting," said Humason who added this was a " gentlemen's race."

McCabe, who said running for mayor was a “wonderful experience” said he would likely not ask for a recount if the 97-vote margin holds.

"You know, I am a potiical outsider so I don't really know how this works, I don't know what you need to ask for a recount," said McCabe who added he thought the 97 vote margin is " pretty insurmountable."

  Incumbent Westfield Mayor Brian Sullivan did not run for another term. In fact, he plans to resign this Friday to take a job with the administration of Gov. Charlie Baker.  He’ll be succeeded on an interim basis by the Westfield City Council President until the newly-elected mayor is sworn into office in January.

If Humason is declared the winner of the mayor’s office he plans to resign from the State Senate in January, which would further deplete the already small Republican ranks in that chamber.

"I enjoy being a State Senator and it is a fun job, but I am really, really, really hoping this number holds up and I get to be mayor of Westfield," said Humason.

The next mayor of Chicopee will be John Vieau. The current City Council president bested Joseph Morissette, a former police officer and current high school vice principal, who was making his first bid for public office.

His unofficial margin of victory was 1,400 votes.

Vieau said he ran a positive campaign that stressed his desire to continue downtown redevelopment efforts, improve public safety, and keep taxes low.

"Chicopee is a viable city and a great place to live and raise a family," said Vieau. "I want Chicopee to be the envy of western Massachusetts. That is my goal."

Morissette said running for office for the first time was a positive and eye-opening experience.

"I've learned who my really good friends are, I've met some great people in the city. We've had countless conversations with people who really have a lot passion for this city. There are a lot more people who really passionate about Chicopee than you could ever imagine," said Morrisette.

In Springfield, 12-year incumbent Domenic Sarno became the city’s longest serving mayor with his reelection to another 4-year term.

Sarno polled 76 percent of the vote to best community organizer Yolanda Cancel.

" I am honored and privileged," said Sarno. "I live it 24-7, I love it 24-7."

He added that he dedicated the campaign to his 83-year-old father Alfonso Sarno, who has been in poor health.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.
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