John Krol, with his wife, Cara, is hoping to demonstrate the differences between he and his opponent over the coming weeks.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Tuesday's preliminary election has narrowed the mayoral field to Peter Marchetti and John Krol.
And in Ward 2, Brittany Bandani and Alexander Blumin will face off and Ward 7 incumbent Anthony Maffuccio will be challenged by Rhonda Serre.
It took less than 15 minutes after the polls closed for Pittsfield Community Television to air the unofficial results.
Marchetti, the current council president, polled 2,248 votes to Krol's 1,807. Left out was Karen Kalinowsky, who earned about 15 percent of the vote at 738.
Krol and Marchetti will face off in the November general election to determine who will occupy the corner office for the next four years. The winner will replace Linda Tyer, who declined to run for a third four-year term.
"I think our tagline of 'leadership you can trust experience, you can count on, and dedication that's already been proven,' is resonating with voters," Marchetti said.
"And I think that my record resonates with voters. I'm not someone who has been here and left and come back. I am someone who has been here working hard for Pittsfield for the last 30 years and will continue to do so."
Marchetti was welcomed to his preliminary election party by a room of cheering family, friends, and city and state officials. This included Mayor Linda Tyer, state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier, and several fellow councilors.
"I think I know something really serious and that is Pittsfield does want change and they want us," he said to the crowd followed by roaring applause.
The candidate was thrilled to be the top vote-getter in the three-way race with 47 percent support.
"I wish I could say that it's like any other time that I was top vote getter in the at large race but this is clearly a different race," he said. "And I wish voter turnout was a little higher than it was but I love the fact that we were able to claim 13 out of 14 precincts and lead the way into November."
This is his second bid for mayor after unsuccessfully running in 2011.
Krol wasn't troubled by his second place showing.
"I feel fantastic, it was a great day, the energy was high," said Krol at his party at Hotel on North. "We wish the turnout was higher but at the end of the day, the number of people who voted for change today was greater than the number of people who were in favor of status quo."
He's looking forward to showing the "massive differences" between himself and Marchetti as the campaign enters its final weeks.
The main things he's hearing from voters is taxes are through the roof and nothing's being done about them.
"We continue to hear from downtown business owners that we need to do something about aggressive panhandling, we have to address the fact that we have empty storefronts," he said. "We've been calling for a downtown foot patrol since the very beginning."
Describing the next weeks of campaigning as "fun" with a push for a greater turnout, he anticipated that parents and young professionals will vote in droves for his stance on community, schools, culture and a thriving downtown.
"This is a community that is about family and this candidacy is about family and and we are going to convey that and we're gonna win in November," he said.
Ward 2 will also see a newcomer in either Bandani or Blumin. Bandani is an attorney and fairly new arrival to the city; Blumin owns rental properties in the city and has been a regular at City Council meetings.
Bandani took the most votes at 166, followed close behind by Blumin at 150. Out of the race is Soncere Williams at 122. Williams' campaigning had been affected by tragedies in her family this summer.
Serre took the most votes in Ward 7 with 325 followed by Maffuccio with 194. Business owner Jonathan Morey was out of the running after tallying 58 votes.
Maffuccio is running for a third consecutive two-year term; he served on the council for several terms in the aughts. Serre, who ran unsuccessfully in 2017, retired as director of corporate communications for Greylock Federal Credit Union and has served on a number of civic committees.
"It feels very rewarding. I feel really good," said Serre, who was at Marchetti's party at the Polish Falcon Club. "I now realize the work pays off. And I'm looking forward to doing more work."
It was the work, she said, she felt resonated with the voters.
"I feel like everybody that I talked to was ready for somebody to prove themselves that they really wanted this job and that they wanted to represent them," said Serre, who added there was a lot more door knocking ahead for her.
Fewer than 5,000 votes were cast in the preliminary, down from just over 6,000 in the 2019 five-way mayoral preliminary. Total unofficial votes cast was 4,862 for about a 16 percent turnout.
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