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September 17, 2008

Ferrante's First

Democratic primary voters rose up last night behind reformer Ann-Margaret Ferrante and turned out of office Anthony Verga, a seven-term representative who was actively supported by his political patron, House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, and a coterie of lobbyists.

Winning a solid victory in a three-cornered race was Ferrante, an understated 36-year-old lawyer and daughter of a retired Gloucester fisherman. Ferrante who was making her first run for elective office, though she had managed the campaigns of retired Mayor John Bell.

The third candidate, attorney Astrid afKlinteberg, ran a distant third.

With no Republicans on the November ballot, Ferrante's win is tantamount to capturing the 5th Essex District seat.

Final totals gave Ferrante 3,724 votes and 46.9 percent of the vote.

She beat Verga by 566 votes. He got 39.8 percent of the vote.

AfKlinteberg's total was 1,058, or 13.3 percent.

Since DiMasi became speaker in 2004, Verga was the second member of his stipended leadership team to fall, and it was the first time the defeated incumbent's allegiance to and support from DiMasi played a defining role in the campaign.

"Tonight, Cape Ann said it wanted change, and enough with the status quo" was how Ferrante greeted supporters at the Gloucester House at about 10:30 p.m. "The powerful voice of this community came through and will now ring anew in the halls of Beacon Hill."

She called Verga the "quintessential gentleman" and thanked afKlinteberg for "her service to the Democratic Party and its ideals, which we share."

At 10:30 p.m., two hours after the polls closed, the Verga campaign released the fully counted tally of the candidate's defeat, but declined to comment on the outcome or release a statement conceding the contest to Ferrante.

AfKlinteberg praised herself for setting a good example. "If I have to lose a few elections to model good behavior, I'll do that," she said.

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