In a night of hair-splitting election contests, even the race for Governor’s Council was on a razor-thin margin.
As of press time late Tuesday night, with 34 percent of precincts reporting, Gloucester Democrat Eileen Duff held a lead for the seat with 51 percent of the vote to Haverhill Republican Maura Ciardiello’s 49 percent.
Duff received a huge lift from her hometown in last night’s elections and held a lead in several local communities.
She won Gloucester 10,149 to 3,734 over Ciardiello in their race for the 5th District seat, while also carrying Beverly by a count of 12,144 to 6,221 and taking Danvers with 7,307 votes to Ciardiello’s 5,416.
Ciardiello won Wenham 1,118 votes to Duff’s 961.
Results for the entire 5th Governor’s Council district, which runs from Rockport west to Pepperell and from Amesbury south to Salem weren’t in by press time.
Duff and Ciardiello ran for the 5th District seat on the Governor’s Council left by longtime councilor Mary-Ellen Manning. Manning stepped down when she started campaigning for state Senate but lost in the September primary.
The Governor’s Council vets and confirms the governor’s appointments of judges and other judiciary officials. They also weigh in on payments from the state treasury and criminal pardons and commutations.
The eight-member board has more lawyers on it than anything else. Neither Duff or Ciardiello are lawyers and said that was their advantage. Neither of them have run for public office before.
Ciardiello could not be reached for comment last night.
Duff, 53, is a real estate agent and chaplain at the Hospice of the North Shore. She said she’d bring a Cape Ann perspective to the council’s decision. In the current political climate, Duff said, another voice for the area would be a good thing.
“One more voice can’t hurt,” Duff said
Ciardiello, 36, taught in the Haverhill schools for seven years before marrying her husband, State Trooper Dan Ciardiello. She had said she would work to place only the most qualified judges on the bench. She had also said she would work to make the council more transparent and open to the public.
Steven Fletcher may be contacted at 1-978-283-7000 x3455, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @stevengdt.