It was a tame election by Lynn standards. Without a mayor’s race, it was left to the At-Large contest to stir things up – and in the end, it did just that.
Two major events took place in the At-Large contest.
Tim Phelan topped the ticket.
Hong Net made history.
By the topping the ticket after finishing third in the primary, Phelan showed that he, and he alone, owns the rights to succeed Mayor Judith Flanagan-Kennedy who, many are calling, a one term mayor.
Phelan worked hard to outdistance the up and coming Dan Cahill, who finished second and the very popular first timer Buzzy Barton who came in third.
Net’s victory pushed Paul Crowley off the council, a disappointment for many of us who respect Paul and who like him.
Back to Phelan … he showed how deep his strength is, how broad his base is, and how strong he really is in the final analysis.
Phelan campaigned hard after a softer than expected showing in the primary which showed Barton at the top.
Some political types around here said that Barton would top the ticket and that Net didn’t have a chance.
This writer predicted Phelan first; Cahill second and Barton third. That is called a trifecta if you’re betting at a track.
Phelan’s ticket topper proves he remains about the most popular politician operating in the city today.
Coming back from a soft primary effort makes his ticket topping position all the more impressive as he has repeatedly topped the ticket for the past 6 years.
Although Phelan does not talk about his ambitions in a public way, it is well known he has political aspirations here and that he might very well give running for mayor a go next time around.
Back to Net.
Here’s a guy who went out and grabbed a seat who was a best kept secret until he began campaigning.
Those watching the race carefully noted that he was campaigning hard and was leaving a good impression on people wherever he went.
He is the first Cambodian to hold public office in Lynn where there is a large Southeast Asian community for more than three decades.
He is a pioneer, of sorts, in a city where Southeast Asians have remained almost exclusively among themselves and have very rarely ventured out into local politics.
In fact, his Southeast Asian heritage might be seen as an advantage in today’s world where most Lynn voters don’t care where you come from. They care about who you are.
Barton’s campaign was also a huge first time success.
He topped the ticket in the primary which set off all kinds of speculation.
He ended up finishing third – an altogether great finish.
With his election, Lynn now has a Southeast Asian and African American At-Large presence that tends to say something very powerful about this place.
Paul Crowley failed to make it back, and by just 27 votes.
He lost out to Net.
When you lose by 27 votes there is virtually nothing a politician can do to assuage the pain of such a close race.
There is nothing he can do except for the what the Irish politicians have been saying for centuries.
“We live to fight another day.”