Islanders ignore trend, go Coakley

Islanders ignore trend, go Coakley

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Singing their own tune, and doing so in splits better than two to one in four towns, Vineyard voters led the parade for state Democrat Attorney General Martha Coakley, in the race to fill the Senate seat left vacant at the death of Senator Edward M. Kennedy.

Voters in Tisbury - Liza Coogan leaves the polling place after doing her duty - turned out heavily for Martha Coakley.
Voters in Tisbury – Liza Coogan leaves the polling place after doing her duty – turned out heavily for Martha Coakley.

A shortage of followers statewide and even in Gosnold, Dukes County’s seventh town, meant that Vineyarders ended up on the short end of the special election stick, as state Sen. Scott Brown, a Republican who ran as an independent, won the contest by five percentage points. Mr. Brown is the first Republican sent to the Senate from Massachusetts since 1972.

Aquinnah (78 percent of the vote for the Democrat), West Tisbury (74), Chilmark (71) went heaviest for Ms. Coakley, who spent college summers working on the Vineyard. Tisbury (66 percent) and Oak Bluffs (61 percent) were only slightly less supportive. Edgartown, where the Coakley vote was 56 percent, 13 percent greater than the Brown vote, was the only Island town in which the spread between Democrat and Republican was significantly narrowed.

Tisbury voters, at least a fraction of them disappointed with both of the leading candidates, wrote in Bill Moyers, former state attorney general Scott Harshbarger, and longtime Tisbury finance committee member and gadfly about town Mev Goode as preferred choices.

Joseph L. Kennedy, Liberty party candidate, attracted just 92 votes county-wide.

In Gosnold, the sentiment ran counter to the Vineyard line. There, 62 percent of the vote, 29 voters, marked their ballots for Brown, only 18 for Coakley.

Voter turnout across the Island was strong, as high as 61 percent in West Tisbury, lowest on-Island in Aquinnah. In Gosnold, turnout was lowest, at 34 percent. The county average was 58 percent. A total of 7,648 voters participated, out of 13,100 registered in the seven county towns.

In Chilmark and Aquinnah, voters approved Proposition 2.5 override votes by wide margins. Aquinnah voters were asked to exempt borrowing to repair the town office building from Proposition 2.5 restrictions. They agreed 152-38. Chilmark voters were asked to exempt borrowing for the Middle Line Road affordable housing project from Proposition 2.5, and they agreed 313-174.