Two high profile candidates for reelection, in races where a second place finish would have been good enough, came in third, and thus out of the money. Irv Rhodes, chair of the Amherst School Committee, fell to newcomers Lawrence O'Brien and Amilcar Shabazz--both of whom wished to be appointed two months ago to finish out the term of Steve Rivkin.
Presciently, Rhodes was at first reluctant to even fill the school committee position, worried it would give that person an advantage in this April 3 election; but then he strongly supported Shabazz. The combined Select Board and School Committee, however, chose a high school student instead.
This stunning loss for Rhodes mirrors the school committee election of 2004 when incumbent chair Barbara Love came in third behind newcomers Andy Churchill and Thomas Flitte. Pundits at the time lay the blame on a mediocre campaign that reeked of overconfidence and taking the voters for granted.
While Michael Aronson came in a distant fourth with 433 votes his base in all liklihood bullet voted (did not use their second vote). If even half of Aronson's supporters had thrown their second vote to Rhodes, it would have put him in second place.
Incumbent Carol Gray also was odd person out in the three way race for two seats on the Jones Library Trustees. She joins former chair Pat Holland who lost her seat last year as a result of leading an inquisition against 30 year Director Bonnie Isman.
Birds of a feather crash together.
By The Numbers:
Lawrence O'Brien 1526
Amilcar Shabazz 1160
Irv Rhodes 1004
Michael Aronson 433
Jones Library Trustee
Austin Sarat 1380
Tamson Ely 1245
Carol Gray 907
Voter Turnout: 15.2% (2,429 voters out of 15,991)
Statement of Michael Aronson - Candidate for the Amherst School Committee