HAVERHILL — Make it six in a row.
Voters swept Mayor James Fiorentini, 64, to a Haverhill record sixth consecutive term in yesterday’s election over challenger Tyler Kimball, 50, a city firefighter and local farm owner who mounted a late-entry, write-in/sticker campaign.
Fiorentini set the pace among all candidates in the election with 6,490 votes. Because Kimball’s name did not appear on the ballot, voters had to write his name or place a sticker in a place provided on the ballot. There were 2,310 write-ins and 909 blanks in the mayoral race. Election officials said official results with exactly how many people voted for Kimball won’t be available for 10 days.
“It’s absolutely wonderful. I feel great,” Fiorentini said last night after learning the results. “I’m glad Tyler decided to run because it gave me the opportunity to get out into the community and talk to people and hear their concerns. Until he got in the race, I had done very little campaigning.”
In all, 9,310 voters cast a ballot in the election — 22 percent of Haverhill’s 41,457 registered voters.
Fiorentini received 6,352 votes in the 2011 election when he defeated political unknown Debra Campanile, who received 2,239 votes.
Fiorentini said his priorities for his sixth term will be improving customer service at City Hall, putting more police officers on the streets and getting a new a new school built in Bradford to replace the deteriorating Hunking Middle School.
Kimball was already planning for a rematch last night.
“I’ve got the fever,” Kimball said. “It was a roller-coaster ride, but it was a great experience. I learned a lot and I will run again.”
Kimball joined the race three weeks before the election, didn’t take out nomination papers and didn’t accept campaign donations. He planned to hand out stickers with his name and address to voters to place on the ballot. He said that proved more difficult than he expected, however.
“We had to stay 150 feet away from the polls, so it was hard to get them (stickers) to everyone,” Kimball said. “Getting on the ballot is the way to go and that’s what I’ll do next time. But it was a great experience meeting and talking to so many people about how to make this city better and hearing their ideas.”