Stephanie Burke re-elected mayor of Medford

Winner of Medford mayoral election Stephanie M. Burke engages in the mayoral debate in Cohen Auditorium on Nov. 2. (Alexis Serino / The Tufts Daily)

Stephanie Muccini Burke was reelected mayor of Medford yesterday, defeating challenger David McKillop, Sr. with a landslide 61.27 percent of the vote.

The unofficial results, announced in the City Council Chamber of Medford City Hall at approximately 9 p.m. last night, placed the vote at 6,867 to 4,301 with 30.1 percent turnout.

The city council remained unchanged after yesterday’s vote. Councillors Richard Caraviello,  Frederick N. Dello Russo, Jr.John C. Falco, Jr., Adam Knight, Breanna Lungo-Koehn, Michael J. Marks and George A. Scarpelli were all re-elected. They beat out seven challengers.

McKillop also runs a restaurant and function hall in Salem and served on the North Shore and Salem Chambers of Commerce in the past, according to his campaign website.

Burke, in contrast, had the incumbency advantage as well as a long history in Medford, serving as a Medford city councillor and director of budget and personnel for the city.

But McKillop’s inability to differentiate himself from Burke presented a major challenge to winning, according to Zachary Going, a junior and lifelong Medford resident.

“[McKillop] didn’t have any big proposals thats were different from what [Burke] wanted,” Going said. “He just wanted to go bigger and better than everything she was already doing.”

Dan Kennedy, associate professor of journalism at Northeastern University and moderator of last week’s Medford Mayoral Debate held at Tufts, told the Daily at the time that he did not notice significant differences between the candidates.

David Todisco, campaign coordinator for Mayor Burke’s reelection campaign, said that Burke will focus on building upon her past successes in her second term.

“She is going to see out all the projects that she began in her first term [going forward],” Todisco said.

Todisco mentioned that Burke plans on paying particular attention to revitalizing and expanding Medford Square.

“She wants to welcome more businesses to Medford Square,” he said.

One avenue that could come with major change is the current term length for Medford mayors. The Medford city charter sets the mayoral term length at two years. Todisco said that the frequency of elections can present issues for Medford businesses.

“A lot of people in our city, they want to know who they’ll be working with in the next 12 months,” Todisco said.

He expressed his personal support for revisiting the city charter to make city government more efficient and accessible. Burke shares those goals, he said.

McKillop could not be reached for comment at press time.

Going saw value in revisiting the term length question.

“I think if the terms were extended to four years our city councilors would spend a lot less time worrying about reelection,”  he said.

Rachel Wahlert, a senior and Medford voter, ran into trouble educating herself on the candidates’ stances on various issues.

“I was annoyed with how difficult it was to find information about those that were running for office,” Wahlert told the Daily in an email. “The city of Medford’s website presented polling locations and a sample ballot. However, I had to search thoroughly to find out the stances of our future leaders.”