Bettencourt, Agneta advance in Peabody mayoral race

In Ward 6 race, Michael Higgins and Ryan Cox advanced to the November general election.

A woman enters the polling location at Higgins Middle School during Peabody's preliminary election on Tuesday. (Spenser Hasak)

PEABODY — Mayor Ted Bettencourt and challenger Rochelle Agneta advanced to the general election in November, collecting the highest and second-highest vote totals, respectively, in the preliminary election for mayor Tuesday.

Bettencourt, who is seeking a seventh term as mayor, collected a whopping 2,091 votes — good for 81 percent of the ballots cast. Agneta came in second with 373 votes, and Rob Stevens trailed with just 100. A total of 2,589 ballots were cast in the mayoral race.

In the race for Ward 6 councilor, Michael Higgins and Ryan Cox will move on to the November ballot. Higgins and Cox topped Billy Cardello, who had also hopped in the race to replace outgoing councilor Mark O’Neill, who opted not to run for re-election this fall. O’Neill endorsed Higgins, the leading vote-getter with 494, earlier this week. Cox collected 315 votes, while Cardello finished third with 157. There were 988 ballots cast in the councilor race.

The results of Tuesday’s preliminaries set the races for the November general election, and may serve as an indicator of how residents will vote on Nov. 7.

Bettencourt’s wide margin of victory sets him up to easily claim a seventh term, while Higgins collected exactly half of the votes cast in his race, seemingly establishing him as the favorite to succeed O’Neill.

In a statement, Bettencourt said he was “very pleased” with the results and grateful for the community’s support.

“I look forward to continuing to campaign and discussing the important city issues,” he said.

Agneta thanked residents for turning out to vote.

“It means a lot to me to have such great support from my community,” she said.

Stevens, when reached Tuesday evening, said he had not seen results. When provided with results by an Item reporter, Stevens did not respond.

The November ballot promises other far more contested races, with Bukia Chalvire running for councilor-at-large against all five incumbents — Anne Manning-Martin, Jon Turco, Tom Rossignol, Ryan Melville and Tom Gould. Voters will also determine the results of the Ward 2 councilor race, with incumbent Peter McGinn facing Mary Beth Mallia.

Ward 1, 3, 4, and 5 Councilors Craig Welton, Stephanie Peach, Julie Daigle, and Dave Gamache, respectively, are all seeking reelection and running unopposed.

On the School Committee, incumbents Joe Amico, Brandi Carpenter and John Olimpio will likely secure new three-year terms, barring a last-minute write-in campaign.

Further down the ballot, three candidates — including a pair of incumbents — are vying for two spots on the Municipal Lighting Commission. Thomas Pappas is mounting a challenge to incumbents Thomas D’Amato and William Aylward.

Voters will also elect a candidate to serve out the remainder of a two-year unexpired term on the commission. Tracy Valletti, who was appointed to the commission to fill a vacancy earlier this year, will face off against Robert Wheatley.

The race for Library Board of Trustees features five candidates running for four seats. Those candidates are Emily Cooper, Stacy Dolin, and incumbents Katrina Vassallo, Kate O’Brien and Frances Bisazza Gallugi, who chairs the Zoning Board of Appeals.

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