By James Niedzinski
---- — Many Cape Ann voters chose to dismiss Tuesday’s special state U.S. Senate election, but Gloucester and town polling officials said the turnout was steady much of the day, and some saw the local turnout as higher than expected.
Democrat Ed Markey, a 37-year veteran of the U.S. Congress from Malden, beat out Republican Gabriel Gomez, a former Navy Seal and Cohasset businessman in a race that state officials conceded failed to capture most voters’ attention.
But while the turnout was low, mirroring statewide numbers, poll officials here said they saw more voters than they expected.
“It’s been steady, we’ve gotten one or two people at a time,” said Gloucester’s Ward 2, Precinct 2 constable Warren Durgin.
Durgin, like others, cited the weather and time of the year as among the reasons for low polling attendance.
“Don’t they know it’s Fiesta this week?” he said, referring to tonight’s opening of Gloucester’s five-day festival in celebration of St. Peter.
Mary Helen MacLeon, the Precinct 3 warden in Rockport, said she was seeing a steady, if far from heavy, turnout.
“I think it’s a little more than we expected,” she said.
While many voters said they were just doing their civic duty to get out and vote, others had specific issues they were following.
“I’m a young guy, I want new people,” Gomez supporter David Frontiero said outside Our Lady of Good Voyage church. “We need some new blood,” he said, referring to Markey’s 37 years in the U.S. House.
Other Gomez supporters said his newcomer approach to politics was something Massachusetts needed.
Voter Joe Russo said he agrees with many of Gomez’s views across the board, including his stands on protecting Social Security, stepping up border security and many others.
“I’m sick and tired of nonsense,” he said, while Joe Esposito said he voted for Gomez just to get Markey out of politics.
The Democrat, however, also pulled strong support across Cape Ann.
Ruth Salinger said she liked Markey’s stance regarding environmental issues, and for the women of Massachusetts.
“I think he’s been a good congressman, I’d like to see him become a senator,” she said Tuesday afternoon.
While some Gomez supporters said Markey has had enough time in office, Markey supporters said they thought his experience was a positive aspect of his career.
“I think he’s had a tremendous amount of experience,” Rockport voter Seymour Smith said.
Smith, along with Hildy Feuerbach, were holding signs outside Rockport Elementary School in support of Markey.
“He’s got a very good voting record,” Feuerbach said.
Still other voters made their way to the polls determined to simply exercise their right to vote.
Voter Carol Lund said no particular candidate piqued her interest.
“When you have that right, you have to use it,” she said.
James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000, x 3455 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.