Capping off a run thought impossible only two months ago, Democratic candidate Nancy Rossi held off a write-in challenge from the incumbent and a strong Republican to win Tuesday’s mayoral race. In official figures released Wednesday, Rossi took 45.28 percent of the vote or 4,825 votes, while Mayor Edward M. O’Brien pulled 3,265 or 30.64 percent, while Republican Councilman-at-Large David Riccio came in third with 24.5 percent or 2,563.
The Democratic line swept into office as well with Republicans taking only the charter-required seats in the City Council and on the Board of Education.
For Rossi, the win ended a long campaign to unseat O’Brien, whom she supported four years ago when he first won the mayoralty. Continuing a mantra that has been hers for several years, she decried O’Brien’s handling of city finances and used it as the cornerstone of her campaign.
That focal point gave her the nomination during a contentious primary in September, and was the issue that was continued throughout the campaign. Rossi, who promoted her bona fides as a certified public accountant, hammered O’Brien for his handling of city funds, and the city’s 12-year-old operating deficit that ballooned to more than $16 million after budgets put together by the O’Brien administration fell short of revenue goals.
Their contentious relationship got even more personal when, after losing in September and promising to work for the Democratic slate, O’Brien backtracked and decided to mount a write-in candidacy in hopes of gaining a third term.