Sea change for Northampton City Council: Five newcomers elected 

  • Newly elected Northampton city councilors Rachel Maiore, left, in Ward 7, and Alex Jarrett, right, in Ward 5, chat at an election party for all candidates held at HighBrow Wood Fired Kitchen + Bar on Crafts Avenue on Tuesday night. Between them are Maiore campaign volunteer Kendra Malone, top, and Jarrett’s partner, Sara Howard. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Alex Jarrett won his bid for the Northampton Ward 5 City Councilor seat, defeating incumbent David Murphy. Photographed on election night at city hall, Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Karen Foster won her uncontested bid for the Northampton Ward 2 City Councilor seat, replacing Dennis Bidwell. Photographed on election night at City Hall, Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Michael Quinlan Jr. won his bid for the Northampton Ward 1 City Councilor seat, defeating fellow newcomer Andrew Smith. Photographed on election night at City Hall, Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING


  • Supporters gather at the Northampton Senior Center on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019.  STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • David Murphy SUBMITTED PHOTO

  • Penny Geis, candidate for Northampton Ward 7 city councilor, speaks with the Gazette on Wednesday, April 10, 2019. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Andrew Smith, former Holyoke director of conservation and sustainability, speaks during the release of “Renewable Communities,” a report by the Environmental Massachusetts Research and Policy Center, in Amherst on Tuesday, July 23, 2019. FILE PHOTO

  • Newly elected Northampton Ward 7 City Councilor Rachel Maiore and Rev. Peter Ives chat during an all-candidate election party at HighBrow Wood Fired Kitchen + Bar on Crafts Avenue in Northampton on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Bill Scher, husband of Northampton City Councilor Gina-Louise Sciarra, checks online for election results shortly after 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, while his daughters, already in their pajamas, pass the time making drawings on the floor at city hall. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Jenny Fleming Ives, center, and Northampton City Councilors Gina-Louise Sciarra and Bill Dwight chat during an election party for all candidates held at HighBrow Wood Fired Kitchen + Bar on Crafts Avenue near City Hall, on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING


Staff Writer
Published: 11/6/2019 12:28:37 AM

NORTHAMPTON — After facing no challengers for a decade, longtime Ward 5 City Councilor David Murphy, owner of The Murphys Realtors, was unseated by Alex Jarrett, a founder and worker-owner of Pedal People, in Tuesday’s election, which brought out 26 percent of the city’s voters.

“I feel very surprised,” Jarrett, 44, said. “I thought it would be close — I wasn’t sure I’d win at all.”

Jarrett received 828 votes to Murphy’s 280, according to the city clerk’s unofficial results.

Without experience in an elected city position, “I doubted myself every step of the way. I felt like I did not belong most of the time,” Jarrett said. “But the lesson is, I’d encourage other people to not let those feelings of doubt hold them back.”

Murphy has been on the council for nearly 14 years and is the chairman of the council’s finance committee — the only non-mayor to ever hold the position. The Gazette could not reach him for a comment late Tuesday night. He was first elected to the Ward 5 seat in a contested race in 2005, succeeding former Ward 5 councilor Alex Ghiselin who did not run for reelection that year.

Unseating a councilor who has been in office for 14 years, Jarrett said is “a testament to the work we did going door to door, knocking on 1,500 doors. It’s a testament to the power of inclusion.” In his first term, he plans to knock on all the doors in his ward. He’s done the math already: “16 doors a week,” he said.

Jarrett wasn’t the only newcomer elected to the council on Tuesday evening. Five new people were elected to the nine-member council, marking a significant turnover of seats.

“We’ve had significant changes before,” said Bill Dwight, an at-large city councilor. “I think there’s a learning curve. I think with the qual ity of people who won tonight, we’re destined to have a solid, thoughtful City Council.”

Rachel Maiore, who won the Ward 7 seat over Penny Geis, echoed Dwight. “It’s a big change for all of us, for us to have such a big changeover. But I also think it can be good — there will be a lot of collaboration and mutual learning,” she said.

Maiore received 612 votes and Geis 371 votes. “It’s heartening to have the community believe in me,” Maiore said.

“Running for office is kind of like trust falling into the community,” Maiore said. “I have a lot of respect for anyone who’s going to do this, who’s going to run.”

Council newcomers Karen Foster, executive director of All Out Adventures, and John Thorpe, a probation officer in Northampton District Court, both won seats on the council in Wards 2 and 4 in uncontested elections.

In Ward 1, Michael Quinlan, who received 593 votes, beat Andrew Smith who garnered 262 votes. Quinlan will replace longtime Ward 1 City Councilor Maureen Carney, who did not run for reelection.

“I believe Northampton is a terrific place — that’s why I ran. I love this city so much,” Quinlan said while standing in City Hall on Tuesday night.

Quinlan has lived in the city for most of his life. “I’m looking forward to being part of the leadership,” he said.

Greta Jochem can be reached at

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