BOSTON (AP) - Incumbent mayors came out largely on top in preliminary municipal elections across Massachusetts on Tuesday.
Beleaguered Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua got nearly half the votes in a six-way preliminary. His closest challenger, city councilor Daniel Rivera, got about a quarter of the votes.
Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, the state's youngest mayor who was first elected at age 22, finished first in that city's four-way preliminary, with 45 percent of the vote, just 3 percentage points ahead of accountant Jeffrey Stanek.
Newton incumbent Mayor Setti Warren won a four-way preliminary with 69 percent of the vote, far outpacing the second place candidate, city Alderman Ted Hess-Mahan.
Brockton Mayor Linda Balzotti; Lynn Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy; and Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria Jr. were among other incumbents who won Tuesday.
Not all incumbents fared so well. Amesbury Mayor Thatcher Kezer placed second behind political newcomer Ken Gray in that community's four-way preliminary.
Boston voters go to the polls next Tuesday to choose among 12 candidates vying to replace Tom Menino, the city's longest-serving mayor, who is not running for re-election.
The top two in each preliminary will face off in November's general election.
Lantigua, the state's first popularly-elected Latino mayor, was recently named in a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Martha Coakley that alleged he violated campaign finance laws.
Two associates of the mayor, including his former chief of staff, pleaded not guilty in June to corruption charges. Lantigua himself has not been charged with any crimes and a recall effort mounted by opponents two years ago failed to collect enough certified signatures to move forward.
Lantigua says he has strengthened the city's shaky finances during his four years in office.
Holyoke's Morse stumbled on the issue of casino gambling. Having opposed casinos during his first run for mayor, he reversed ground after the election and said he would negotiate with potential casino developers, but ultimately changed his mind again and ruled out bringing casinos to the city. He said he learned from the experience.
Newton's Warren was briefly a candidate for the U.S. Senate seat eventually won by Democrat Elizabeth Warren in 2012. They are not related. Setti Warren's senate bid led to criticism from some who felt he was turning his back on the city.
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