The Cambridge City Council's game of musical chairs left all the incumbents sitting down as the ballot count ended Saturday afternoon.
"All this work, and we're going to have the same Council," sighed Alice K. Wolf, one of four Cambridge Civic Association (CCA) members to win re-election.
But liberal candidates claimed a gain in popularity during this election, as shown by the close tenth-place finish of CCA challenger Jonathan S. Myers, who ended the race with 2004 votes compared to 2136 votes for the Council's only Black member, Saundra M. Graham.
Myers and his supporters said the defeat did not discourage them, given the overwhelming power of incumbency in Cambridge elections, Rather, they said the closeness of the race gave them hope for the next city race in 1989.
Graham coasted to victory at the last minute onthe "transfer" ballots she received from twounsuccessful candidates: Lester P. Lee, Jr., theonly other Black candidate, and North Cambridgeliberal Edward N. Cyr.
Myers had counted on receiving more transfersfrom Cyr, because both live in North Cambridge.But 262 of Cyr's ballots went to Graham, and only242 to Myers.
Graham was six votes behind Myers when thefirst stage of the count ended late Friday night.In that process, workers redistributed the"surplus" of the three candidates who receivedmore number-one ballots than the the 2338 neededfor election.
On Saturday morning, election workers began thesecond portion of the ballot-countingprocess--repeatedly retiring the candidate withthe fewest votes, then redistributing each of thatperson's ballots to candidates still in therunning--again following each voter's order ofpreference.
After Cyr was retired, Myers led incumbentIndependent Thomas M. Danehy briefly, and he had achance to push out Danehy and join Graham on theCouncil. But the transfers from Independent DanielClinton, who was in eleventh place, pushed Danehyto within 100 votes of the quota and all butguaranteed his seat.
"It would have taken a miracle after theClinton transfers," said Brian Murphy '87, Myers'campaign manager