By Douglas Moser
---- — NORTH ANDOVER — Zora Warren, a mother of two and a political neophyte, won a spot on the School Committee yesterday in the only contested race by a landslide margin in a quiet election.
Warren, 38, is a former teacher who had campaigned on the perspective her variety of experiences would bring to the School Committee. Her opponent, 19-year-old Mark Mezzina, had campaigned on improving communication between the committee and town residents.
The contest was to replace Christine Allen, who decided in January not to seek a third three-year term.
“I appreciated the courtesy of so many people during this campaign to keep it positive and on point,” Warren said.
Warren won every one of the eight precincts by a lopsided margin, ringing up 1,166 votes to Mezzina’s 526, according to the final totals. Turnout came in at 8.9 percent, with 1,711 ballots cast. North Andover has 19,177 registered voters.
Mezzina, who attended the University of South Carolina until December and had planned to transfer to the University of Massachusetts Lowell, congratulated Warren and said his first race was a valuable experience.
“It was a fun process, even though the result wasn’t what I wanted,” he said. “But I’m proud of the work I put in.”
When asked if he would run again, he thought a moment and said, “We’ll see.”
Mezzina is a 2011 graduate of Austin Preparatory School. He attended Covenant Christian Academy in Peabody during his middle school years. Before that, he was home-schooled. He currently has three sisters in North Andover public schools.
Warren, the mother of a second grader and a daughter who will be in kindergarten this fall, congratulated Mezzina on “running a great campaign.”
Warren has lived in North Andover for 10 years, she said, and her husband is from the town.
Keith Connors, who voted yesterday evening at the town’s only polling location at North Andover High School, said he was impressed with both candidates, but voted for Warren.
“I felt Zora Warren had more experience,” he said. “She brings in the educational field, she’s the parent of children. But I love the enthusiasm of Mark. I hope he stays involved.”
Selectman Rosemary Connelly Smedile, first elected to the board 12 years ago, won a fifth three-year term unopposed. Smedile owns and operates Connelly Real Estate and served on the Finance Committee before her election to the Board of Selectmen. This was the first time Smedile has not had an opponent.
Housing Authority board member Mary Beth Soucy also ran unopposed, winning a full five-year term. She was appointed to the Housing Authority board to replace her mother, Helen Soucy, who died in May 2008. She was then elected to fill the remainder of the term.
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