FAIRHAVEN – The challenger won the day in the contest for Board of Selectmen Monday, while Board of Health Chairman Peter DeTerra led his race by a single vote.
Incumbent Selectman Brian Bowcock, who has held that office for 12 years after 13 years on the Finance Committee, lost to Geoffrey Haworth by 356 votes.
Haworth, who described himself during the campaign as a candidate bringing about change, said he was “very excited that the voters have spoken.”
“They made a clear choice that they wanted change, and I promise to bring that change,” he said standing at Town Hall just moments after hearing the results.
Bowcock did not respond to three requests for comment.
With 22 percent voter turnout, the initial electronic machine tally for the Board of Health race had incumbent DeTerra losing to newcomer John Wethington by three votes.
Later in the night, Town Clerk Eileen Lowney counted the 48 ballots that were deemed “unreadable” by the machine. That count gave DeTerra a lead of one vote.
The candidates have 10 days to request a recount, which will involve hand counting all of the ballots, even those previously tallied by the machines.
“I’ve never seen it so close before,” Lowney said.
For his part, Wethington was still in a state of shock Monday night.
“Either way, I think it’s really cool. I don’t know what else to say,” he said.
Outside the Hastings Middle School polling station Monday evening, David Barney said he had voted for the incumbents in the selectmen and Board of Health race.
“I think they are doing a great job, I’d like to keep them in there,” he said.
Naomi Brown, however said she “wanted to see a change” and so voted for Wethington and Haworth.
In other contested races, Stasia Powers and Bernie Roderick each won another term on the School Committee, defeating special needs advocate Diane Hahn.
Kathy Melanson, owner of Emma Jean’s, lost her bid for a one-year seat on the Planning Board by just 10 votes to property manager John Farrell, who is currently an appointed member of the board.
In her concession speech at Town Hall, Melanson said she would definitely run again if afforded the opportunity but that “the town couldn’t lose this race.”
“I think a lot of John Farrell,” she said. “I would have voted for him if I was not running.”
Selectman Charlie Murphy, who moderated the candidates’ speeches in Town Hall Monday night said the election’s close tallies was a good lesson for voters.
“It means every vote really does count,” he said.