By Cynthia Drummond
Sun staff writer
RICHMOND — Independent Nell Carpenter’s decisive win in Tuesday’s election shattered the slate of four Republicans and one Democratic incumbent who were running together, hoping to shut her out.
But Carpenter ended up receiving by far the greatest number of votes, 1,996. Ronald Newman, the only Democrat, received 1,816, followed by Republicans Gary Wright with 1,813, Paul Michaud, 18,11, Richard Nassaney, 1,803, and Mark Trimmer, with 1,711.
Voter turnout was a robust 50 percent, with 3,239 of the town’s 6,470 eligible voters casting ballots.
Reached Wednesday morning, Carpenter said she was angry with Michaud’s election night statement attributing her high vote count to this being “the year of the woman.”
“I believe that the residents fo this town voted resoundingly,” she said. “It wasn’t just a message. It was, I think, monumental. Two years ago I came in sixth and here, I beat them all. People want change and people want a voice. They want transparency and these are the things that I’m going to offer.”
“I do believe that Paul’s comments were condescending, misogynist, and the fact that I am a woman has nothing to do with why the residents of this town voted the way they did, and I think they should take offense to that,” Carpenter said.
The political future of the lowest vote-getters, Nassaney and Trimmer, was undecided as of late Wednesday afternoon. The town was still awaiting the final vote count from mail ballots, and Nassaney said that would decide whether he or Trimmer would lose a council seat.
“There were 200 more ballots to be counted,” he said. “Out of those 200, if he got 89 votes for him and none for me, I’m out because I’m below him. Right now, we’re only 88 off between each other.”
Nassaney said Carpenter deserved to win.
“I’m glad. She worked hard and she deserves the recognition and her place on the council,” he said, also noting that Trimmer’s departure, if confirmed, would be a big loss.
“He and I were more of the down the middle, moderate type of mentality, open ears, and just trying to make things work,” he said. “I’m shocked. I thought it was going to be either me, Ronnie or Paul that was going to be out.”
Carpenter said one of her first initiatives as a councilor would be to urge the adoption of official town emails for all council members.
“None of the elected officials in Richmond have used official emails,” she said. “They’ve used personal emails, and in an effort of being transparent, I want an official email and after I’m sworn in, I’m going to have that as an agenda item, because it’s all about transparency, and unfortunately, personal emails are private.”
One of her most pleasant election night surprises, Carpenter said, was receiving congratulations from Trimmer and Nassaney.
“Mark reached out to me and I thought that was very kind,” she said. “He is the only council member to have done that, apart from Rich. Rich and I were at the elementary school when the numbers were read and he shook my hand instantaneously.”