Observers Say It's Reeves


By nearly all accounts, Cambridge Mayor Kenneth E. Reeves '72 will be the number one vote-getter in next Tuesday's municipal elections.

Observers predict that Reeves will gain much more than the 10 percent of the vote needed to secure a seat on the city council, meaning Reeves' excess votes will be distributed among other candidates.

According to Cambridge's system of propor: I representation, voters rank in order of preference as many of the 18 candidates as they desire.

Once a candidate has received approximately 10 percent of the vote, the excess ballots are distributed to candidates whom voters ranked second, according to Teresa S. Neighbor, executive director of the Cambridge Election Commission.

"You put all the ballots back together and determine which ballots are going to be turned over," Neighbor said. "Nothing could be more random."


Reeves' campaign staff has instructed voters to vote second for incumbent councillors Kathleen L. Born or Anthony Galluccio or challenger Henrietta Davis, a school committee member.

"We think they'll do good things for the city if they're elected," said Joseph J. Szocik, Reeves' field organizer.

But some observers said that despite this request, voters likely to vote for Reeves will probably give their second votes to black or gay candidates.

"Since Ken Reeves is gay, I would think his number two's would go to Katherine Triantafillou and Jonathan Spampinato," said Geneva T. Malenfant, president of the Cambridge Civic Association (CCA). "Since he's black, his votes might go to Lester Lee, Barbara Pilgrim or Marty Connor."

Although Pilgrim said she may receive some of Reeves' excess votes simply because she is black, she said she does not expect to gain the support of much of the mayor's constituency.

"His excess ballots generally have been distributed to other CCA candidates," said Pilgrim, who is backed by the Alliance for Change, a moderate civic group started during the last city election.

In 1993, 65 percent of Reeves' excess ballots went to candidates endorsed by the CCA. Malenfant said.

Although Reeves did not receive the CCA's endorsement this year, former city councillor William H. Walsh said he expects Reeves' surplus votes to be transferred to CCA candidates.

This year, the CCA, a progressive good-government alliance, endorsed Born. Davis, Francis H. Duehay '55, Craig A. Kelley, Lee, Ralph A. Lopez and Triantafillou.

Former mayor Alice K. Wolf said that while some of Reeves' excess votes will go to the other black or gay candidates, it is difficult to name a single group that will benefit from the mayor's strong showing.

"I think his votes will go all over the place," she said.

A "Different" Mayor

While observers differed over who will benefit from Reeves' likely strong showing, most agreed that the he is the most popular candidate this year.

"Ken Reeves has done something totally different from other mayors--he's really reached out to people," Walsh said. "Kids on the street really identify with him."

Malenfant also attributed Reeves' popularity to his charisma, but added that incumbents Triantafillou and Michael A. Sullivan might also receive more than ten percent of the vote.

"I think that if you're walking along the street and run into him, you'll see that he has a very warm, engaging personality," she said. "People like the idea of having a mayor who's an Afro-American, who is gay and who has a lot of style.