Updated September 6
Voters overwhelmingly chose T. George Davis for clerk and Daphne DeVries for register of probate in Tuesday’s primary election.
Davis won the chance to square off against unenrolled candidate Anthony Piland in the Nov. 6 general election to become the next clerk of courts at Dukes County Superior Court, where Joseph Sollitto is retiring. DeVries is essentially the register of probate–elect, because there is no Republican or unenrolled candidate for the position on the ballot.
Tuesday’s election drew 32 percent of the county’s 15,010 registered voters.
In a vote of 2,730-1,260, Davis defeated Charles Morano, an Edgartown defense attorney. From tiny Gosnold to Oak Bluffs, Davis was victorious in every Dukes County town. In Tisbury, for example, Davis defeated Morano by a 3-to-1 margin, with 660 votes to 217 for Morano.
“I want to thank the voters of Dukes County for giving me the victory,” Davis told The Times. “It’s a team effort.” He thanked his wife and his campaign team.
Davis, 64, has practiced law for 31 years and has lived on the Vineyard full-time since 1997. His general practice specializes in civil litigation and administrative law. Morano, 68, has been in law practice for 41 years specializing mostly in criminal law. He’s been on the Island since 1996.
“It’s been a long, hard slog,” Davis said of the campaign.
Davis thanked Morano for running a good campaign. “[Morano] made me a better candidate, the best candidate I can be,” Davis said.
“He’s just a really good guy,” Jefferson Munroe said of his friend Davis as he held a sign outside a polling place in support during Tuesday’s election. “He’s the kind of person you want in government.”
Morano could not be reached for comment.
There is no Republican candidate for clerk of courts.
Meanwhile, in the other Dukes County race of interest, Daphne DeVries defeated Gail Barmakian for register of probate by 2,210-1,636 margin. It was her hometown of Edgartown that helped carry DeVries to victory. She defeated Barmakian 576-238. Barmakian won in Aquinnah by 15 votes, and by slight margins in Chilmark, two votes, and Gosnold, one vote, but in Oak Bluffs, where she is chairman of the board of selectmen, she tied DeVries 503-503.
“I am so grateful for all the support I received!” DeVries told The Times in an email. “I can’t even begin to thank my friends and family and colleagues enough! Thanks also to Gail for being fair and respectful throughout this process. I am headed to work now. I have lots to do!”
“She is ready,” Lisa Murphy, DeVries campaign manager, said Tuesday while votes were still being cast. “She’s worked really hard, and we’re hopeful for a positive outcome.”
Barmakian congratulated DeVries on her victory. “I would like to congratulate Daphne DeVries. She had a great campaign, and I look forward to working with her. I also would like to thank the voters Islandwide who turned out to vote. I’m grateful to my supporters and all who worked hard on the campaign. While I would have preferred a different outcome, in many ways the journey is more important. I met so many wonderful people along the way, and had a chance to engage which was very rewarding,” she said.
There were four candidates on the ballot for Dukes County Commission. John Alley was the top vote-getter at 2,402, followed by Christine Todd (2,284), Gretchen Underwood (2,211), and Leon Brathwaite (1,994). They all move on to the general election. Keith Chatinover, the recent Charter School graduate and political activist, ran a last-minute write-in campaign that unofficially garnered him 308 votes.
“I want the government to work for the people,” Chatinover told The Times outside the polls Tuesday. “[it] needs [to be] modernized, and needs to function better.”
Tuesday’s primaries also saw the Island follow suit with the rest of the state as Republican Gov. Charlie Baker beat out challenger Scott Lively with 63.9 percent of the statewide vote. Baker will be challenged by former Secretary of Administration and Finance Jay Gonzalez, who won the Democratic primary with 64.4 percent of the vote, beating out Bob Massie.
Republican Geoff Diehl will now face off against incumbent U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren after beating out two challengers and earning 55.3 percent of statewide votes.
Longtime Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin beat out challenger Josh Zakim with 67.5 percent of the statewide vote. Galvin has held the position since 1995. He will face Republican Anthony Amore in November.
U.S. House District 9 Democrat Bill Keating garnered 85.5 percent of the districtwide votes, beating challenger Bill Cimbrelo. He will now face Republican Peter Tedeschi in November.
Reporters Gabrielle Mannino, Rich Saltzberg and Lucas Thors contributed to this report. Updated to correct date of general election. – Ed.