Cheers filled the room at Family Ties Restaurant on Tuesday night where Tiverton 1st candidates, their families and supporters gathered with the Tiverton Democratic Town Committee (TDTC) to tally the ballots. Tiverton 1st and TDTC-endorsed candidates won a majority each of the town's local races.
After a long day braving freezing temperatures and touring Tiverton's seven polling precincts to make last-minute ploys to voters, Tiverton 1st and the Tiverton Democratic Town Committee celebrated a swathe of victories wtih hot food and good drinks on Tuesday night.
Five of the elected Town Council members are endorsed by Tiverton 1st: Edward Roderick, Denise deMedeiros, William Gerlach, Brett Pelletier and James Arruda. Incumbents Jay Lambert and Joan Chabot are endorsed by the Tiverton Citizens for Change.
"I'm excited," said Pelletier, an incumbent. "I think we will be able to make better decisions, more productive decisions."
"We don't agree on a lot of things and we certainly don't walk in lockstep," added Pelletier, referencing Tiverton 1st strong majority in the Tiverton Town Council. "But we will be able to have conversations that are respectful and civil and that have some amount of dissention and difference of opinion. We will be big enough to talk through disagreements and make decisions."
DeMedeiros and Arruda, both seeking their first term in the Town Council, said they were surprised and humbled, after garnering the some of the highest number of votes.
About 55 percent of Tiverton's 12,566 registered voters cast a ballot on Tuesday, where many incumbents were voted back into office.
"We did have to shake it up and we needed to have people run and i think i did well," said Renee DeJesus Jones, a Tiverton 1st-endorsed candidate who missed a Town Council seat by about 116 votes. "My goal is very much to bring Tiverton back together. I felt too much divisiveness and decisions made not really based for Tiverton's best interests. I felt very strongly about that and I think it is time we sit down and get to work instead having private agendas."
Seven of 14 candidates were election to the council, ousting incumbents David Nelson and Robert Coulter.
Tiverton's representatives to the state General Assemby remained largely unchaged, all but incumbent John G. Edwards ran unopposed. Edwards easily won the majority vote in Tiverton and Portsmouth.
"I want to talk about the candidates because all the candidates, every single candidate who ran - whether they won or lost - did a great job because you don't have democracy without them all," said Rep. Edwards who won 72 percent of the vote for the Dist. 70 seat in Tiverton. This will be his third term in the state House of Representatives.
In Portsmouth, Edwards won 69.5 percent of the vote to beat out opponent John Perkins.
After the results came in, candidates echoed a sentiment to retain town services while keeping taxes down and ensuring accountability when spending taxpayer dollars.
Carol Herrmann won her bid for re-election to the School Committee, as did fellow incumbent Sally Black. Rookie candidate Jerome Larkin will bring a fresh perspective to the council, she said.
"We have a common goal to strengthen our school system, make sure students reach their full potential and be conscious of keeping costs to a minimum," said Herrmann.
The Tiverton 1st ticket pledges support to schools and working with community members to reach positive decisions for the town.
"[Tiverton 1st] formed and we all got together and came together because of a divide in our community," said Linda Larson, Tiverton 1st coordinator. "The focus was placed elsewhere for us. This is much more than just today and beyond and bringing the community back together and continuing support for our elected officials."