Harder Defeats Hughes In Local Election's Only Surprise

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Topics: Politics , Elections

Voters fill out ballots in Chatham, where turnout was 71 percent. TIM WOOD PHOTO

Voters turned out in high numbers for Tuesday's state election, deciding several local races and ballot questions as well as contests for governor, federal and state legislators.

In the only contested local race, Harwich voters sent Elizabeth Harder to the Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates for a two-year term. She won over incumbent Peter Hughes 3,390 to 2,752. Both had applied for the seat when Ed McManus resigned last year after being elected to the board of selectmen; Hughes was appointed to fill the vacancy, but Harder vowed to run and pulled off an upset over former selectman Hughes.

Orleans was the only town with local debt exemption questions on the ballot. Question four, which sought $1.2 million for the Nauset Beach Retreat Master Plan and Facility Relocation, passed 2,726 to 1,049 (see separate story). Funding for the final demolition costs for the closed Tri-Town Septage Facility passed 2,713 to 1,044. Voters approved that $713,000 expenditure at last week's special town meeting, along with the Nauset Beach funding.

Orleans had the highest turnout locally, with 4,077 voters or 75.4 percent of those registered casting ballots. In Chatham, 4,088 of the town's 5,755 registered voters, or 71 percent, came out Tuesday, and in Harwich 7,553 of the 10,932 registered, or 69 percent, cast ballots.

The race for Barnstable County Commission between incumbent Leo Cakounes of Harwich and challenger Ronald Bergstrom of Chatham was not yet decided at The Chronicle's deadline. Bergstrom won Chatham and Orleans, while Cakounes carried his hometown. In Chatham, Bergstrom received 2,062 votes and Cakounes had 1,879; in Harwich, Cakounes had 4,115 votes and Bergstrom 3,124; and in Orleans, Bergstrom received 2,157 votes to 1,696 for Cakounes.

State Senator Julian Cyr won re-election to a second term over Republican challenger John Flores, but as of deadline final results were not yet in. Cyr won by comfortable margins in Chatham, Harwich and Orleans.

State Representative Sarah Peake, D-Provincetown, was unchallenged and will return to Beacon Hill to represent the Fourth Barnstable District. Randi Potash was also unchallenged for Chatham's Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates seat, as was Christopher Kanaga, Orleans' assembly delegate.

Statewide, Gov. Charlie Baker won re-election over Democratic challenger Jay Gonzalez, and Senator Elizabeth Warren glided to victory over Republican Geoff Diehl. Likewise, Ninth District Congressman William Keating was expected to win re-election over Republican Peter Tedeschi. All three won their respective races in Chatham, Harwich and Orleans.

Voters in the three towns also turned down Ballot Question 1, related to the staffing of registered nurses at hospitals, but approved both Question 2, which creates a commission to sponsor a Constitutional amendment to limit the influence of money in elections, and Question 3, which endorsed a state law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender in places of public accommodation.

Full results from the election are available on each town's website.

Executive Editor Alan Pollock and reporter Ed Maroney contributed to this story.

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