Manchester Voters went to the polls yesterday and it looks as if they sent a message:  Stay the course.  Incumbents almost ran the table yesterday as all but two Queen City pols were reelected.  Mayor Ted Gatsas was reelected taking ten of the city’s twelve wards in a much closer than expected race.  According to the unofficial vote tally released by Manchester City Clerk Matthew Normand last night, Gatsas received eighty one hundred and four votes to Seven thousand one hundred sixty three for challenger Patrick Arnold.  Gatsas thanked his supporters last night saying the thing he was most proud of is that they gained victory with a positive message, noting that his campaign didn’t send one negative mail piece or one negative ad attacking his opponent.  In an interview with Girard at Large following his speech, Gatsas shrugged off the closer than expected contest saying it was a victory and that when a candidate has been exposed to a ballot the ballot as many times as he has, he’s been on the ballot eighteen times, sometimes some people for no reason just say “you know what, I think I’ve had enough.”  Gatsas pledged to continue to work with the aldermen and school board members to tackle the challenges facing the city.  Among those in the crowd at the mayor’s victory party was Manchester Education Association President Benjamin Dick.  Dick, whose union endorsed Arnold early in the campaign, said he was there out of respect for the mayor’s victory and to indicate he was willing to work with the mayor in the coming term.

Arnold proclaimed pride in his campaign and those who supported it in an interview with us last night.  He said his was a people powered campaign and that the results, while short of victory, were evidence that more and more people were coming to the conclusion that Manchester could do better, which was his campaign theme.  Six months ago, he said, nobody was talking about the problem of rising crime and how to deal with it, now everybody is, he said.  And, he noted that nobody was talking about how to make Manchester’s schools the best in the state, but now they are thanks to his campaign.

State G O P Chair Jennifer Horn congratulated Gatsas in a statement released last night.  Democratic State Chair Raymond Buckley, a former Manchester alderman and state representative tweeted that Arnold should be proud of his solid vote and at thirty had many victories ahead.

Welfare Commissioner Paul Martineau improved his margin of victory in his rematch with Diane Guimond, taking just over fifty three percent of the vote, in sweeping all twelve wards.  Incumbents who survived tough challenges were Ward 6 Alderman Garth Corriveau who edged out hard charging challenger Joe Whitten, Ward 9 Alderman Barbara Shaw who withstood a spirited charge by Victoria Sullivan and Ward 10 School Committeeman John Avard who survived a surprisingly strong performance by former City Clerk Leo Bernier.   Ross Terrio defeated Lisa Witte for the open school board seat in Ward 7, newcomer Katie DesRochers defeated former school committeeman Stephen Dolman for the seat vacated by Jason Cooper in Ward eleven.  In Ward 12, former Alderman Keith Hirschmann is once again the alderman after a narrowly defeating School Committeeman Roger Beauchamp and retired teacher Connie Van Houten bested Christine Duffley for the school board seat vacated by Beauchamp.  Ward 6 School Committeeman Dan Bergeron fell to challenger Robyn Dunphy and Ward 10 Alderman Phil Greazzo was overcome by Bill Barry in that race.  Best of all, the proposed charter revision went down in flames and it wasn’t even close.  Here are the complete unofficial election results.

News from our own backyard continues after this.

Tim Russell, the Director of Bands at Memorial High School sent us a note asking for help publicizing a concert at Memorial tonight, so here’s the announcement:  The University of Southern Maine’s School of Music Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of saxophonist Barry Saunders, will be performing in the Mirabile Auditorium at Memorial High School tonight beginning at six thirty.  The concert is free and open to the public, which means you are invited and encouraged to attend.  After all that’s transpired in the past couple of weeks, it might be nice to sit in Memorial’s auditorium and listen to some lively, fun and relaxing jazz music.  Plenty of parking available there at Memorial there in the city’s South End.

And, just a reminder, the Greater Derry Londonderry Chamber of Commerce‘s first ever in the state Technology Expo is today.  Details of this exciting event are at GDL Chamber dot org.  Make sure you take advantage of what’s out there to help make your life easier and your business better.

That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is straight ahead!