Local Voters Return Keating To Office, Elect Cyr To Senate


The polls in Harwich were very busy this morning. ALAN POLLOCK PHOTO

Local voters backed Hillary Clinton in Tuesday's presidential election, sent William Keating back to Congress and elected a first-time candidate to the state senate.

Truro Democrat Julian Cyr captured the Cape and Islands Senate seat being vacated by Dan Wolf, defeating Harwich resident Anthony Schiavi. Cyr managed to beat Republican Schiavi in his hometown of Harwich as well as in Orleans, but not in Chatham.

At Guapo's restaurant in Orleans, Cyr told supporters the best advice he received in the campaign was from former Governor Deval Patrick, who told him not to be afraid to lose.

“We weren't afraid to lose, and that ended up propelling us to victory,” he said.

Voters came to the polls in large numbers throughout the day, but a significant percentage also cast ballots early. Forty percent of Chatham and Orleans voters took part in early voting, while 33 percent did so in Harwich.

The four-way race for two seats on the Barnstable County Commission was too close to call at The Chronicle's deadline, although with most returns in, incumbent Mary Pat Flynn was leading, followed by Ron Beaty and Mark Forest.

Running unopposed, State Representative Sarah Peake won another two-year term.

In Chatham, Clinton defeating Trump 2,395 to 1,796 in the presidential race. Democrat Keating topped Republican challenger Mark Alliegro 2,275 to 1,686, with independent and Chatham resident Paul Harrington with 500.

In the Cape and Islands Senate race, Republican Schiavi narrowly defeated Cyr in Chatham 2,220 to 2,187. Cummings, who won re-election, beat challenger Randy Azzato in Chatham 2,698 to 1,637, and incumbent Barnstable County Commissioner Flynn topped the ballot in that race with 1,968. Beaty was second with 1,645, followed by Forest at 1,421 and Linda Bond at 1,361. There were 2,876 blanks cast in that race.

Chatham voters split the ballot questions, approving two and turning down two. Question one authorizing more slot machines at casinos was defeated 3,211 to 1,210; question two allowing more charter schools was endorsed 2,292 to 2,212; question three, related to humane treatment of farm animals, was approved 3,567 to 937; and question four, the legalization of marijuana, went down to defeat here 2,611 to 1,924.

Voters turnout in Chatham was 82 percent, with 4,564 of the town's 5,636 voters casting ballots. The turnout was similar to the last two presidential elections; in 2008, 82 percent of voters turned out, while 83 percent voted in 2012.

Chatham Town Clerk Julie Smith said when the polls opened, the line was out the door and down the sidewalk.  Voting was "steady" throughout the day, she said.

With 1,659 early voters and nearly 600 absentee ballots, 40 percent of the town's 5,636 registered voters cast their ballots prior to Tuesday.  That cut down on the volume of voters Tuesday and made what would otherwise have been a very busy day more manageable, Smith said.

In Harwich, Clinton defeated Trump 4,570 to 3,290 and Keating beat Alliegro 4,627 to 2,812, with Harrington earning 673 votes.

Schiavi failed to win his hometown, losing to Cyr 4,253 to 3,905. Cummings topped Azzato 4,794 to 3,260. Mary Pat Flynn topped the county commission race with 3,877, followed by Forest at 2,759, Beaty at 2,659 and Bond at 2,277.

Harwich voters turned down questions one, two and four, but approved question three. Turnout was 79 percent.

Town Clerk Anita Doucette said voting went smoothly; the longest anyone had to wait was 10 minutes. Pre-planning traffic flow at the community center helped keep the lines moving. She said many people helped and she thanks “the whole town of Harwich family.”

In Orleans, a ballot measure to fund wastewater passed 2,733 to 1,359 with 452 blanks (see separate story).

It was Clinton over Trump in Orleans 2,650 to 1,502. Keating beat Alliegro 2,582 to 1,463, with Harrington getting 282 votes. Cyr had 2,602 to Schiavi's 1,712, and Cummings polled 2,370 to Azzato's 1,879. Flynn was also the top vote getter in the county commissioner race with 2,194, followed by Forest with 1,722, Beaty with 1,348 and Bond at 1,348. There were 2,674 blank ballots cast in that race.

Orleans voters turned down questions one and four but approved questions two and three.

Turnout in Orleans was just under 84 percent.

Some insight on the issues that concerned voters came from exit polling done by about 40 Monomoy Regional High School students taught by John Dickson at the Harwich Community Center. It showed that in the presidential contest, the economy was cited as a concern among 43 percent of voters, followed by health care at 36 percent, education at 25 percent and the candidates' character at 24 percent.

The poll of 376 voters accurately predicted Clinton's victory in Harwich, putting her on top with 57 percent. Trump followed with 36 percent and 2 percent each for Johnson and Stein. The poll also predicted victories by Keating, Cummings and Cyr.

Presidential preference broke starkly along gender lines. The students found Clinton winning women 67 to 25 percent and Trump leading with men 46 to 41 percent. The gender gap is much larger than in the 17 percent found in the U.S. Representative and State Senate races and 3 percent in the sheriff's race. In 2012 the gender gap in the presidential race was 11 percent and less than 10 percent in prior polls. Clinton won all age groups but by a higher percentage with younger voters. Clinton also got more cross-party support than Trump, with 10 percent of Republicans voting for the former secretary of state while only 3 percent of Democrats voted for Trump. She got strong support from independents, 54 to 31 percent.

Of the ballot questions, only question 3 had majority support with 78 percent, with question 1 at 31 percent, question 2 at 39 percent, and question 4 at 46 percent.

Dickson's students have conducted exit polls in Harwich since 1998. He thanked Doucette for her support, and students thanked Harwich voters who took the time to take the poll.

“Their candor gave students valuable insights into how voters make decisions, which was the most important lesson of the day,” Dickson said.

“One of our goals is for students to understand different points of view,” he said in an email. “So talking to a variety of voters with different perspectives gives the students an understanding of how actual voters make decisions.” Complete results of the exit poll are available at mrhsstand.blogspot.com/.

Alan Pollock and Ed Maroney contributed to this story.