Fitchburg Republican Dean A. Tran emerged the victor in Tuesday’s special election for the open state Senate seat in the Worcester and Middlesex District, ahead of Leominster Democrat Susan A. Chalifoux Zephir, as well as an unenrolled and Green Party candidates.
The Senate district represents Fitchburg, Gardner, Leominster, Berlin, Bolton, Lancaster, Lunenburg, Sterling, Westminster, Townsend and Precincts 1 and 2 in Clinton. Mr. Tran replaces Jennifer Flanagan, who resigned her Senate seat Aug. 31 after being named to the state Cannabis Control Commission.
Unofficial results from Tuesday look like this: Tran 7,289; Chalifoux Zephir 6,614; Freda 1,552; and DiCalogero 201.
In an email statement about an hour after polls closed, Ms. Chalifoux Zephir, a Leominster city councilor, conceded to Mr. Tran and congratulated him on his victory.
“I was proud to run a campaign focused on the major issues facing the families of North Central Massachusetts, from fixing our roads and fully funding our schools to making healthcare more affordable, from creating jobs to fighting the opioid epidemic. I congratulate Councilor Tran on his victory,” she wrote.
Ms. Chalifoux Zephir, 62, who won the state Democratic primary last month, is a lifelong resident of Leominster, where she has served as a city councilor for eight years. She also serves as executive director of the local community-based food pantry Ginny’s Helping Hand.
Mr. Tran, a Fitchburg city councilor, was not immediately available for comment.
Mr. Tran, 42, who has served on the Fitchburg City Council since 2006, is a senior manager at a software development company. He is married to Kerry Tran and has four children.
RESULTS BY COMMUNITY:
Chalifoux Zephir 1,190
Chalifoux Zephir 1,931
Chalifoux Zephir 789
Chalifoux Zephir 227
Chalifoux Zephir 441
Chalifoux Zephir 268
Chalifoux Zephir 481
Chalifoux Zephir 402
Chalifoux Zephir 334
Chalifoux Zephir 321
Clinton (Precincts 1-2)
“I am the only candidate with a successful record of public service and private sector experience,” Mr. Tran said previously. “My constituent service to the people is unmatched and my extensive business background including managing personnel, projects and products producing hundreds of millions of dollars on three continents set me apart from the other candidates. I am the candidate who will keep your taxes low, rein in unnecessary spending, bring economic development and jobs to the district, tackle the opioid epidemic with the governor and local officials, fight for additional funding for schools and to fixing our roads and bridges.”
Also in the race for the vacant seat were Leominster City Councilor Claire M. Freda, running unenrolled, and Green-Rainbow Party candidate Charlene DiCalogero of Berlin.
Ms. DiCalogero, 57, a longtime community activist, musician, Berlin library trustee and education policy professional, first ran for public office in 2016.
“I wish Dean Tran the best in his role as our new state Senator,” Ms. DiCalogero said in a statement. “(Mr. Tran) will hear from me, as I hope (he) will hear from others in the district, about what we want and don’t want for our district and state.”
She added that, although she lost, she saw the exposure the Green Party received through her candidacy as a success and the state taking a “significant step forward.”
“This election has been exceptional for Massachusetts in at least two respects: It was a contested four-way race in a state that has far too many uncontested legislative seats and an election in which most media outlets covered a Green Party candidate with respect,” she said.
“I urge you to see today’s result as a call to move forward,” she added. “Help us rescue our democracy by running for office yourself, or by supporting candidates you believe in, who run clean and Green, who call our corrupt political system to account.”
Ms. Freda, 69, a real estate appraiser and registered broker, is the longest serving elected official in the city of Leominster, having served six years on the School Committee and on the city council for 24 years. She was recently re-elected to her seat on the city council.
“I am thankful for the great people that were working with me," Ms. Freda said in statement Tuesday night. "I ran with a message that would have represented the true value of an independent constituent but obviously the voters did not agree. We ran a campaign that did not attack anyone, showed our true character and presented the facts. Congratulations to Dean.”