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Tran Holds Off Chalifoux Zephir for Senate Seat

November 7, 2018

LEOMINSTER -- Republican Dean Tran won a rematch for the Worcester-Middlesex state Senate seat Tuesday to serve his first full term, according to unofficial election results.

Tran, who was elected in a 2017 special election, received 29,958 votes over the 25,406 votes cast for Leominster City Councilor Sue Chalifoux Zephir, according to his campaign.

“This victory is not my victory,” he told supporters. “This victory is our victory. It took all of us to win and it will take all of us working together to achieve success.”

He joined supporters at the Leominster Elks Lodge to celebrate before 9:30 p.m. People watched results projected on a screen as they began to come in after polls closed.

He walked into the hall to applause and “God Bless the USA” playing. By the end of his speech, Tran took off a red button down to reveal a white T-shirt that said “Win again!” in red letters.

“I can assure you, every town and every city in my distict will not be ignored any longer,” he said to supporters.

The song “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” played after he ended his remarks.

Tran said serving the people will be his number one priority and that he will focus on infrastructure, education, and other issues that are important to the district.

He pledged to be transparent and criticsized the “lies, mudslinging and smears” lodged by his opponent during the campaign.

“When they go low, know what my volunteers and i did?” he said. “What we did is we just ignored them.”

Chalifoux Zephir conceded in a speech before supporters who gathered at Slate Bar and Grill.

“Not quite the night I had planned certainly,” she said, “but I want to thank everyone for all of their support. Campaigns are though. It’s hard and losing is lousy. The worst part is knowing the kind of work I’d be doing.”

She conceded when the vote was 24,835 for Tran and 21,759 for her. Those totals were without the towns of Berlin, Westminster, Lunenburg, and one precinct in Shirley and Townsend.

“I honestly believe I would be a better representative for the district,” Chalifoux Zephir added.

She and Tran previously faced off in a December 2017 special election to succeed Democrat Jennifer Flanagan.

Tran, who was then an At-Large member of the Fitchburg City Council, won 46.5 percent of the vote against her and two other candidates.

The Worcester and Middlesex District covers 11 communities in North Central Massachusetts.

In Tuesday’s election, Tran won the cities of Fitchburg, Leominster, and Gardner.

Earlier in the day at the polls, people cast their votes for both of the Senate candidates.

In Lunenburg, Tom Gray said Tuesday afternoon that he would have voted for Tran, but opted for Chalifoux Zephir and other Democrats on the ballot.

“I’ve met (Tran) a few times and he’s nice and personable,” Gray said, “but we couldn’t vote for a Republican.”

Gray and his wife made a pact before the election that they wouldn’t vote for Republican candidates until President Donald Trump and the party as a whole changed for the better.

Dennis Lyddy of Leominster backed members of both parties, saying he was a fan of the work Tran and the city’s incumbent state Rep. Natalie Higgins have done so far.

“I believe Sen. Tran is an excellent choice, specifically to enlarge the Republican party and bring more balance to the state Legislature,” he said.

Follow Mina on Twitter @mlcorpuz.

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