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Council splits on Graham v. Smith race


My story with Craig Fox
Fellow City Council members are split on endorsements between incumbent Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham and his challenger, Jeffrey M. Smith.
In Watertown, the city manager is responsible for administrative decisions. The mayor serves as a figurehead or spokesperson for City Council, where he or she has one vote, like the other four members.
Mr. Graham, who has been mayor, with a four-year hiatus, since 1993, is supported by Councilwoman Roxanne M. Burns. She endorsed him at his campaign kick-off rally at Pete's Restaurant in April. Though they have had differences in the past, she cited the city's progress in making her endorsement.
On Thursday night, Mr. Smith earned the endorsement of fellow Councilman Joseph M. Butler Jr., the son of the only man to defeat Mr. Graham, in 1999.
“We share similar philosophies,” Mr. Butler said, offering a caveat similar to Mrs. Burns' about past disagreements overcome by personal respect. “Look at his background. He's raising a family here. He's from a different era, with all due respect to the mayor.”
Councilwoman Teresa R. Maculuso abstained in this vote, however.
“I'm going to keep it private,” she said.
City residents will go to the polls on Nov. 8. Mrs. Burns and Mr. Butler are running unopposed for re-election to their council seats.

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