ATTLEBORO — Mayor Paul Heroux rolled to a landslide win over challenger Heather Porreca Tuesday, sweeping all 12 precincts and capturing 67 percent of the vote.
It’s the biggest margin of victory of any mayoral race in decades.
In earning a second term, Heroux received 5,488 votes while Porreca, the city council’s vice president, received 2,617.
The mayor said he was happy to see an end to what many said was the dirtiest campaign in recent city history. All the negativity couldn’t obscure his record, he said at a small election night gathering at his Newport Avenue home.
Heroux said his record of bringing development to downtown, balancing the budget, purchasing the bankrupt Highland Country Club, and fixing school building problems meant more to voters than attacks by “Twitter tough guys and Facebook fighters.”
Meanwhile, Porreca and her supporters gathered at Morin’s diner in the heart of the downtown that she pledged to revitalize with greater speed if elected.
Shortly before 10 p.m. the music still blared at the diner’s bar and, despite the staggering loss, she was positive.
“This has been an unbelievable, incredible experience,” she said. “I’ve made lot of great friends.”
“I take comfort in the fact that my children are proud of me, my husband is proud of me, my base is proud of me and the firefighters are proud of me,” Porreca said, referring to the endorsement from the firefighters union.
She said taking on an incumbent mayor is never easy.
Only one incumbent mayor in the city’s history has failed to win a second term.
“We did everything we could,” Porreca said. “I’m proud of us.”
Heroux’s big win brings an end to a bruising campaign.
Each candidate hurled insults and accusations at each other, with Porreca slamming Heroux for his governing style, which she claimed includes stormy tirades and a bad working environment in city hall.
Meanwhile, Heroux blasted Porreca, claiming she lied about his governmental relationships. And he pointed to a number of accomplishments, arguing they would not be possible without an ability to work with colleagues.
Porreca ran with a “nice matters” plank in her platform, pledging to improve collaboration between the mayor’s office, city departments and the council while pledging to accelerate downtown revitalization and increase support for schools and seniors.
Heroux ran on his record, which included a number of accomplishments including city-facilitated plans for the private redevelopment of Union Street between Park and Mill streets, the acquisition of Highland Park, launching a number of “green policies,” balancing two budgets without resorting to layoffs, the hiring of an economic development director and reinvigorating a number of city boards.
Porreca lost despite the help of Massachusetts Majority Independent Expenditure PAC which reported spending more than $20,000 on direct mail literature to support her campaign.
She also got the endorsement of Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and the city’s firefighters’ union.
Rain fell most of election day and may have driven turnout down. It fell just short of 28 percent of the city’s 29,429 registered voters.
All told, 8,219 ballots were cast.
It was the lowest turnout for a contested mayoral race since Kevin Dumas ousted six-term incumbent mayor Judy Robbins in 2003. That year just 26 percent turned out.
During his second term Heroux said he hopes to follow through with things the city has already started, such as construction of a new high school, making the city more environmentally friendly, and continuing to develop Highland as a park.
Porreca said it’s too early to say what her plans for the future are.
In the meantime, she has a wish.
“I hope the mayor takes good care of our city,” Porreca said.