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2009 Worcester, Massachusetts mayoral election

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Worcester mayoral election, 2009
Flag of Worcester, Massachusetts.svg

← 2007 November 3, 2009[1] 2011 →
Nominee Joseph C. O'Brien Konstantina Lukes Kate Toomey
Party Nonpartisan Nonpartisan Nonpartisan
Popular vote 10,214 5,663 3,722
Percentage 50.58% 28.04% 18.43%

Mayor before election

Konstantina B. Lukes

Elected Mayor

Joseph C. O'Brien

The 2009 Worcester, Massachusetts mayoral election was held on November 3, 2009. It saw the election of Joseph C. O'Brien, who unseated incumbent mayor Konstantina B. Lukes.

As of 2019, this is the only time an incumbent mayor has lost reelection in a Worcester mayoral election since they started popularly electing mayors in 1987.[2]

Election system

In order to be elected mayor in Worcester, a person must place first in the mayor's race and also finish among the top six in the at-large city council election, being also elected a councilor at large. An individual cannot be elected mayor without additionally winning an at-large city council seat.[2][3]

In addition, the candidate elected to the office of councilor at large who receives the second-highest number of votes for the office of mayor will become vice-chair of the city council.[3]



While there was speculation that Frederick C. Rushton, who had lost the 2007 to Lukes by an immensely narrow margin, might challenge her again in 2009,[9] he ruled it out in February of 2009.[10]

The election race was slow to start.[11]

Lukes, as she did in the previous election, saw two strong challengers, the two this time being O'Brien and Toomey.[8]

O'Brien's candidacy was supported by lieutenant governor and former Worcester mayor Tim Murray.[8][5] O'Brien was also supported by congressman Jim McGovern, for whom he once served as district director.[8] Many other local Democrats threw their support behind O'Brien.[8]

Toomey was endorsed by the Worcester County Sheriff and once of the city's two state senators.[8]

The election focused more on the leadership and personality of Lukes than it did on particular issues.[8]

O'Brien and Toomey criticized Lukes for being to inactive a mayor, and argued that she was ineffective at advocating for the city at the state and federal level.[8] Lukes refuted accusations that she was too inactive, arguing that the role of mayor was not intended to be a full-time position.[8]

Lukes argued that she had independence from what she claimed was a Murray-McGovern run political machine.[8]

Lukes argued that O'Brien was simply seeking to use the office of mayor as a platform to seek higher office, and argued that she herself was free from such ambitions.[8]

O'Brien pledged to commit attention to inner-city neighborhoods, and called attention to the fact that he resided in the less-affluent Main South area of the city.[8]

O'Brien aimed to run a movement-style campaign, seeking small online donations and utilizing the internet to organize campaign events.[8]

Lukes raised $33,895 for her campaign.[8] Lukes collected mainly small donations, and solicited her donations primarily by mail.[8] Financially, Lukes ran a low-cost campaign, even using her private law-office to house her campaign headquarters.[8]

O'Brien raised $43,300 for his campaign.[8] O'Brien was additionally supported by the grassroots group Neighbor to Neighbor, which funded $6,000 in mailers for his campaign.[8]

Toomey raised $33,633 for her campaign.[8]

Tsitsilianos did not raise any money for his campaign, and received little attention.[8] However, he did participate in the mayoral debates.[8]


General election results[4]
Party Candidate Votes %
Nonpartisan Joseph C. O'Brien 10,214 50.58%
Nonpartisan Konstantina B. Lukes (incumbent) 5,663 28.04%
Nonpartisan Kate Toomey 3,722 18.43%
Nonpartisan E. Tsitsilianos 595 2.95%
Total votes 20,197

O'Brien also finished first in the at-large city council election.[4] Toomey finished second, Lukes finished fifth, Tsitsilianos finished eleventh.[4] Lukes, by the rules of the city charter, became the vice-chair of the Worcester City Council.

O'Brien was the only non-incumbent individual elected to a citywide office in Worcester that year.[12]


  1. ^ "Election Results | City of Worcester, MA". Worcester, Massachusetts. Retrieved November 28, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Kotsopoulos, Nick (September 21, 2019). "Politics and the City: And they're off and running for Worcester mayor". Retrieved November 28, 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Ordinances & Regulations | City of Worcester, MA". Worcester. Retrieved April 25, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "WORCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS STATEMENT OF VOTES CAST MUNICIPAL ELECTION WORCESTER MASSACHUSETTS" (PDF). Worcester, Massachusetts. Retrieved November 28, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c Monahan, John J.; Staff, Gazette (August 19, 2009). "Murray backs O'Brien for mayor; Lukes calls race a replay of 2007".
  6. ^ "Kate Toomey". Ballotpedia. Retrieved December 10, 2019.
  7. ^ "Cover Story: 07-27-06". Worcester Magazine. July 27, 2006. Retrieved December 10, 2019.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Atkins, Hannah; Boatright, Robert; Cansever, Baran; Chaudari, Noreena; Cohen, Stefan; Gerhardson, Sasha; Gregoire, Amanda; Kahale, Joelle; Monterio, Jarett; Oldenburg, Colin; Schofield, Emily; Smith, Connor; Tripp, Charles. "Campaign Finance in Municipal Elections: The 2009 Worcester City Council Candidates" (PDF). Clark University. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
  9. ^ Kotsopoulos, Nick (February 25, 2009). "Rushton's decision clouds mayoral landscape". Retrieved April 24, 2020.
  10. ^ Kotsopoulos, Nick Kotsopoulos (February 24, 2009). "Rushton won't run for mayor". Telegram & Gazette. Retrieved April 25, 2020.
  11. ^ Kotsopoulos, Nick. "".
  12. ^ "Worcester Municipal Elections: 2009". Clark University. Retrieved December 10, 2019.
This page was last edited on 16 January 2021, at 19:52
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