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Check here for election results tomorrow

June 5, 2015

The results for Walpole’s town election will be posted here, and on the Sam Obar 180 Twitter beginning when polls close at 8 p.m. tomorrow, June 6.

All indications are that many races in this year’s election will be nail-biters.

The Selectmen race, with two seats up for grabs between David Salvatore, Eric Kraus, and Nancy Mackenzie, remains too close to call. Most analysts, if they had to guess, expect Salvatore and Kraus to win, but a major question will be whether enough Kraus voters give Mackenzie their second vote, which is her only real path to victory. Kraus is expected to win a seat on the Board, but the issue is whether Salvatore or Mackenzie will also win, and if Salvatore wins, whether he will garner more votes than Kraus. If Mackenzie somehow manages to win a seat on the board, it will be by a small margin. If Salvatore wins more votes than Kraus, expect his coattails to extend down the ballot to other races, including RTM.

The race for Town Moderator, between Chris Timson and Tom Brady, will be close. Both candidates are well-known, and have significant bases. Brady came within 100 votes of beating Jon Rockwood for the post last year, but the dynamics of the race have changed considerably since then, because, although Timson is a stronger candidate than Rockwood, many Rockwood voters supported him only out of loyalty and would have supported Brady against any other candidate. Although Timson has run a more energetic campaign than Brady, Timson is so well-known as a three-term Selectman that he hasn’t really changed anybody’s minds on who to vote for. There aren’t too many Brady voters from last year who have switched to Timson this year, so Brady’s base seems to be pretty stable from last year. Brady has run a campaign much like he did last year – quietly building coalitions behind the scenes, and relying on his involvement in youth sports and as a lifelong resident to earn him support. That strategy almost paid off for him last year, and could work out for him again this year.

The Sewer and Water Commission race, between incumbents Pat Fasanello and Ken Fettig, and Kenneth Guyette and Tom Brown, will be a close election by any measure. Guyette, who is the strongest candidate of the four, will likely beat out Fettig, who is the weakest candidate of the four, for a seat on the Commission. Brown, meanwhile, has run a stronger than expected campaign, and woke up Fasanello’s sleeping campaign apparatus which in recent days has been desperately attempting to stop Brown’s momentum. Brown has Fasanello on the ropes, but it will still take a lot to unseat a 35-year incumbent like Fasanello. Expect this race to be close as well. Even if Brown loses, he will not disappear from the Walpole political scene anytime soon.

The Planning Board race, between incumbent Ed Forsberg and challenger Liz Gaffey, will be a lot closer than originally expected when the race began. The anti-incumbent fervor that could derail Mackenzie, Timson, some Town Meeting Representatives, and potentially Fettig and Fasanello, is also unexpectedly extending to longtime incumbent and “townie” Forsberg. Several months ago, 180 would have expected this race to be a yawner in favor of Forsberg. But Gaffey has cobbled together a coalition of both anti-development and pro-development voters who are all unsatisfied in one way or another with the Planning Board’s work, and she is benefiting from Forsberg’s low-profile campaign. In other words, Gaffey is running a classic “anti-incumbent, anti-status quo” campaign against an overconfident incumbent. Sound familiar? Gaffey also collected a few big endorsements, including from The Walpole Times; from the grassroots group that opposed a proposal to create a cemetery on top of the aquifer on Route 1; and from Selectman Cliff Snuffer and Precinct 8 activist and Town Meeting Representative Joseph Moraski, who both command significant influence among many of Forsberg’s longtime supporters. Snuffer’s and Moraski’s endorsements might, if nothing else, give some of Forsberg’s loyalists “permission” to switch sides. Forsberg’s absence from the campaign trail essentially allowed Gaffey to control the message in this race. Gaffey will likely win at least a few precincts, at a minimum. It’s not apparent that Gaffey is a compelling enough candidate to cause most of Forsberg’s longtime supporters to abandon him, but the race will be close in any event. Gaffey certainly seems to have the momentum going into Election Day.

The races for Town Meeting seats will be interesting as well. In Precinct 1, former Selectman candidate Joe Monahan will win a RTM seat unopposed. In Precinct 4, Debbie Driscoll, widow of the late conservative RTM Tom Driscoll, will win unopposed to fill the remainder of her husband’s term. In Precinct 3, expect Ross Doty to become the youngest Town Meeting Representative in Walpole history; expect at least one or two RTM incumbents to lose in Precincts 4 and 6; and look for fiscally conservative rising star Victor Scena, an energetic campaigner and likely future Selectman with a massive network of supporters, to win a seat in Precinct 8. The only question will be which incumbent Scena unseats in Precinct 8 and whether he will finish in or near first place.

No matter how you plan to vote, or who you plan to vote for, the most important thing is to remember to VOTE.

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