Official election results are in

Updated with comment from winners
May 3, 2022

An at-times tense election season is over and the votes are in: three newcomers will join the Select Board.

The official results are in from Tuesday’s town election.

Ron Besse and Jared Chadwick scored the two open three-year Select Board seats, unseating incumbent Jim Munise and beating fellow newcomer Jody Santagate. 

Tricia Wurts beat Brenda Eckstrom to win the one year left in Peter Teitelbaum’s one-year term.

Chadwick earned 690 votes, while Besse netted 626. Munise earned 549 votes, and 502 voters were in favor of Santagate. 

Wurts earned 896 votes to Eckstrom’s 352. 

Michele Bissonnette beat out Jenna Deane for Town Clerk with 805 votes to Deane’s 434, and will continue her term in Town Hall.

About 7% of residents voted in this year’s election, with about 1,311 casting ballots in total.

Because of a clerical error, Munise appeared to be in the lead when results were first announced, as the Town Clerk mistakenly added an extra digit to Munise’s Precinct 4 tally, bringing his total into the thousands.The error was rectified less than 10 minutes later, with his correct Precinct 4 tally — 82 votes, not 825 votes.

Wurts was one of the few candidates in a contested race to set up shop at Town Hall Tuesday night, as she awaited for unofficial results to be released next to her competitor, Eckstrom, and other town officials.

When her victory was announced, Wurts was speechless, and she soon shared a hug with Eckstrom.

“Shell-shocked,” is how Wurts described her feelings, seconds after results were announced.

The new Select Board member said she had two immediate priorities: making sure she knows how to work as a board member and continuing the work she started in her communication study for the Wareham Redevelopment Authority.

“To help move communication between the town and its citizens from reactive to proactive” is the goal, Wurts said, “and making sure we do it the way citizens want to be communicated with.”

Winner of one of the two three-year Select Board seats Jared Chadwick said Tuesday night that his first few weeks will be spent learning all the ins and outs of being a Select Board member.

After that, the work begins.

“My biggest concern is trying to figure out how I can fix the public services in this town,” Chadwick said. “Those will be my top priorities after the first couple of weeks.”

On Tuesday night though, as election results rolled in, Chadwick was enjoying a meal with his wife and thanking her for her support, he said.

“I’m always available if anyone ever wants to talk,” he said. “I’m here to work for you, the citizens of Wareham.”

Ron Besse, who will join Chadwick on the board, said he was feeling “really good” on Election Night and planned to celebrate with a few drinks. 

On Wednesday, he said, he’ll be ready to “hit the ground running.” Besse said his first priority will be to work with the board to assess the current situation. He’ll be looking to follow the guidance of current board members Alan Slavin and Judith Whiteside and Town Administrator Derek Sullivan. 

Then, he said, he’ll get to work addressing the town’s needs as identified by Wareham voters. 

Bissonnette said she’s pleased to have been reelected and added that she’s grateful for the voters’ support.

“I’m very happy that I can continue to serve the community,” Bissonnette said. “I love what I do.” 

Since Bissonnette’s position was on the ballot this year, the assistant town clerk was tasked with finalizing the election results Wednesday morning. 

The unopposed candidates were also elected: Margaret Ishihara for Town Moderator, Brennan McKiernan for School Committee, Peter Dunlop for Sewer Commissioner and David Halberstadt for Board of Assessors.