WILMINGTON, MA — At Saturday’s Annual Town Election, Wilmington voters — in what’s believed to be just the fifth time in the town’s history — elected a woman to the Board of Selectmen.
Jomarie O’Mahony — the founder and president of We’re One Wilmington, a Wilmington ‘Good Guy’ award winner, and a member of the Wilmington Housing Authority — was overwhelmingly supported by residents in her first run for public office.
O’Mahony will fulfill the remaining one year on former Selectman Ed Loud’s term. (Loud recently stepped down from the Board after accepting a job out-of-state.)
O’Mahony (1971 votes) defeated Kevin MacDonald (698 votes) and Daryn Marsh (348 votes), capturing more than 65% of the vote.
“It’s still surreal for me to see the numbers,” O’Mahony told Wilmington Apple at her victory part at the Wilmington Knights of Columbus Hall. “It’s very humbling. It hasn’t really hit me yet. I’m sure I’ll spend tomorrow processing it more. I’m really excited for what happens next.”
O’Mahony attributed her campaign success to her hard-working team of volunteers.
“I had really good people helping me out. I have a lot of great friends giving me a lot of support,” said O’Mahony. “Thank you to my campaign manager Gary DePalma, who was such a great advisor… Thank you to Billy Byrnes for getting my signs out.”
O’Mahony is hoping to begin to find answers surrounding the detox facility proposal, Olin, and the North Wilmington fire substation during her first year on the board.
“I want to have to those meetings about 362 Middlesex Avenue. It’s important for me to understand what’s going on with the litigation and if there’s anyway to resolve it without it going on for years and years,” added O’Mahony, who works as an attorney.
O’Mahony wants to make it clear she plans on running for re-election next spring.
“I’m absolutely running for re-election,” said O’Mahony. “It made sense to run for the 1-year seat. I didn’t want to run against Greg or Kevin and jeopardize their ability to stay on the board… I am absolutely running next year. This isn’t something I went into without thought or commitment. This is definitely a role I see myself doing for awhile.”
O’Mahony was glad to see Selectmen Greg Bendel and Kevin Caira get re-elected.
“I’m definitely happy. I think I can work really well them,” said O’Mahony. “I know Greg and Kevin pretty well. I think we’re going to have a good time melding together. We might now always have the same ideas, but we’re going to be respectful when addressing our concerns.”
In the night’s most talked about race, Selectmen Greg Bendel and Kevin Caira were both overwhelmingly re-elected to their second 3-year term.
The race turned out not to be as close as many political observers predicted with Bendel (1,837) and Caira (1,721) soundly defeating former Selectwoman Suzanne Sullivan (1,288), last year’s runner-up Rob Fasulo (876), political newcomer Mark Maselli (441), and long-shot candidate Daniel Murphy (69).
“I’m feeling really excited. I’m feeling honored to have been re-elected by the residents of the town,” Selectman Greg Bendel told Wilmington Apple moments after his swearing-in ceremony. “I’m very grateful for everyone’s support today and over the past couple of weeks. I want to congratulate all the winners and thank the residents for electing me to represent them again.”
Bendel is ready to get back to work on behalf of the residents.
“I think there will certainly be challenges that we’ll face going forward, but I think we have a good group of people and, as long as we work together, we can keep moving forward in a positive direction,” said Bendel. “I’m proud to have supported Mr. Caira. I think he’s the right man for the job. I’m looking forward to working with him and my new colleague, Mrs. O’Mahony, as well as the other members of the board.”
Bendel wanted to make sure he thanked one person in particular.
“I attribute my campaign success to having a great wife. I’m very lucky to have such support from my wife and family,” added Bendel. “I’m grateful for everyone who has supported me up until this point. But big shutout to my wife Andrea who is my #1 supporter.”
Selectman Kevin Caira, likewise, was also in a joyous and thankful mood following the reading of the election results.
“I’m excited. I’m elated,” Caira told Wilmington Apple before departing Town Hall for his campaign victory party at the Friendship Lodge. “The work that everyone put into this — all the volunteers who spent time standing out, stuffing envelopes, putting up signs at their homes. This was a total team effort. A real collaborative effort from family, friends, and people I got to meet [during the campaign].
Caira believed running a positive campaign was one of the keys to his success.
“We kept it positive all the way. We wanted to make sure we didn’t get negative when others did. We stayed positive,” said Caira. “It wasn’t difficult to stay positive. And it worked out in the end, didn’t it?”
Caira thanked his supporters and campaign team.
“I want to thank John Romano, the chairman/field coordinator of my campaign. He did it for the first time. He did it for me this second time. I also want to thank my wife, my kids, and my family for everything they did,” said Caira. “Everyone was enthusiastic and remained positive and proud of the campaign.”
In addition to his own victory, Caira was pleased to see Greg Bendel and Jomarie O’Mahony join him in the winners’ circle.
“The results are awesome. I’m glad Greg topped the ticket. And I’m glad Jomarie topped the ticket in her race,” said Caira. “I’m looking forward to working with both of them. We have a great board makeup. It’s going to work out well.”
Caira said he doesn’t know if he’ll continue as Chair.
“That’s yet to be seen,” responded Caira. Selectmen are expected to conduct their annual reorganization at their May 13 meeting.
Caira is certain, however, he’s not going to change his approach to the board.
“Every issue is a top priority to me. That’s the way I’ve always done it,” said Caira. “I’m not going to my approach from the first term to the second term. Quite frankly, I thought I handled myself well.”
A few of the Selectmen candidates that came up short in Saturday’s election have issued statements on their social media pages.
“To All My Supporters, THANK YOU! We sure did give it our all didn’t we?,” wrote Suzanne Sullivan. “Sometimes things go your way and sometimes they don’t. But that does not mean the fight is not worth fighting. And it does not mean you give up either. Resistance can come in many forms. And this is very important to remember, just because you lose a battle does not mean you have lost the war. We all deserve to have representation no matter and I promise not to give up on that for us. And honestly, I actually had a blast working and getting out there talking to people and just being as light hearted as possible.”
“Well, I didn’t see that one coming but in any good fight you have to expect a right hook,” wrote Rob Fasulo. “To those that worked tirelessly for us, thank you from the bottom of my heart. To those that cast your vote for our side, I would like to also thank you for believing in us. We lost to a very well established machine that has been in power for decades. We knew it wouldnt be easy, and it certainly wasnt. What I will end with is only one thing can be assured at this point, our group is not going anywhere and the Voice of Wilmington will finally be heard.”
“The results are in and I didn’t make it on the board,” wrote Daryn Marsh. “I do want to express my great appreciation for all those who gave me their support. Although I did not win I do believe that this was the most impactful campaign that I have run. My goal besides hoping to win a seat on the board was to make some kind of impact in the life of at least one person in our community. Whether it was in regards to the way that they approached a situation or maybe it was learning to think before we speak I know I have impacted a few and I say again that it was all worth it.”
In other races, Jo Newhouse (2375), Jesse Fennelly (1836), and Jason Samaha (1768) ran unopposed to the Wilmington School Committee. Newhouse had been serving on the Committee since the summer when former member Peggy Kane stepped down. Fennelly was last year’s runner-up, while Samaha — a Special Education teacher for Boston Public Schools — is a political newcomer. Meanwhile, popular longtime School Committee member Robert Peterson Sr. (2731) continues to get re-elected every three years.
3,337 voters came to polls, representing a 19.61% voter turnout. This was an improvement over last year’s 15.66% turnout.
Below are the unofficial results from the Town Clerk’s Office:
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