NASHUA — Former alderman Ben Clemons is back on the Board of Aldermen after winning a special election Tuesday to fill the late Brian McCarthy’s at-large seat.
Clemons easily defeated another former alderman, Fred Teeboom, with twice as many votes — 3,042 compared to Teeboom’s 1,405. Clemons secured more votes than Teeboom in all nine city wards.
“The two of us stuck to the issues,” Clemons said on Tuesday while making his rounds at polling stations. “People had a definite choice in this race.”
Clemons will now hold the seat previously occupied by McCarthy, the former president of the board who died last November. Clemons will fulfill the remainder of McCarthy’s term, which ends at the beginning of 2020; however, Clemons said earlier that he already intends to seek a subsequent term.
“I want to keep progress going,” he said on Tuesday, stressing his two main priorities are the completion of a downtown performing arts center and bringing commuter rail back to Nashua. “I want to make sure the momentum keeps going on those issues.”
Clemons was previously approached by McCarthy’s family about running for the vacant position.
Clemons, 36, is a resident of Ward 6 and served on the board from 2008-2012 as an at-large alderman, and again from 2016-2017 as a Ward 6 alderman.
He decided not to seek reelection in 2017 because of work commitments as a loan officer at MIT Federal Credit Union in Cambridge, Mass. However, Clemons said his job is relocating to Lexington, Mass., so he will have more time to devote to the board.
In a statement, the McCarthy family said that Clemons has shown a willingness to step into a leadership role on the board.
“Ben has demonstrated the personal character needed to work alongside others to address the needs of the citizens of Nashua,” the family said in the statement.
Clemons was endorsed by the Nashua Teachers’ Union, the Nashua Fire Fighters IAFF Local 789, four of Nashua’s public employee unions and U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.
“Ben Clemons will be an effective voice for Nashua families on the Board of Aldermen,” Shaheen said in a statement. “He understands the challenges they face and is committed to increasing economic opportunities, combating the opioid epidemic and investing in education. I am excited to see Ben’s continued commitment to public service and know he will do everything he can to make a positive impact in the lives of his neighbors.”
Prior to the results being tallied on Tuesday, Clemons said he was feeling optimistic about his campaign after knocking on 2,000 doors and trying to get his message out to city residents.
“I am really optimistic, but I never take anything for granted. We have had a pretty strong campaign,” he added.
His opponent, Teeboom, was originally elected as an alderman in 1993, served a four-year term, and was again elected in 2005 for another four years.
“Nashua needs diversity on the board, not just another me-too member. Nashua needs an experienced board member who is fiscally responsible and able to deal with complex municipal arrangements and competing interests,” Teeboom said earlier.
Teeboom has been a strong advocate for the city’s spending cap. He has taken the matter to the state’s highest court in an effort to validate the spending cap, which was deemed unenforceable by a superior court judge last year. That case is still pending.