Sentinel & Enterprise: Natalie Higgins easily beats Ardinger to represent 4th District
From the Sentinel & Enterprise:
By Peter Jasinski
LEOMINSTER -- Within 30 minutes of polls closing Tuesday, Republican Thomas "Frank" Ardinger conceded to 28-year-old Democrat Natalie Higgins to represent the 4th Worcester District.
"To think eight months ago, no one knew who I was in this community and to win this race is juts amazing," Higgins said to a room full of supporters at 435 Bar and Grill shortly after 9 p.m. Tuesday.
According to the City Clerk's unofficial totals, Higgins had received 54 percent, or 10,350, of the 18,740 votes casts compared to Ardinger's 8,390.
"We ran the race that we wanted to run and I couldn't be more proud," Higgins said.
Higgins' win Tuesday night came exactly two months after her primary win against fellow Democrat and Ward 5 City Councilor Richard Marchand by a slim 38 vote margin.
Following that win, Higgins' campaign against Ardinger saw her championing many of the same arguments, namely her stance on taxes and advocacy for accessible education.
Higgins remained a staunch supporter of the proposed "Fair Share" amendment, which would levy an additional 4-cents on every dollar of earned income over $1 million, that Ardinger opposed.
Another clear division illustrated between the two candidates were their stances on ballot Question 2. Through her campaign, Higgins continually voiced her opposition to lifting the cap on the state's number of charter schools, citing her concerns that it would drain funding from existing public schools.
Tuesday's election saw a much larger portions of the city's 25,691 voters making it to the polls.
Compared to the primary election, where only 11 percent of voters decided between Higgins and Marchand, roughly 73 percent voted Tuesday.
Ardinger said a big part of the loss was running against a Democrat during a presidential election.
"There's a Democratic bias in this state and it seems hard in a presidential election year to beat a Democrat," he said. "It was a great race, I think it was a clean campaign. I congratulate Natalie and hope she does a good job representing the city of Leominster."
Referring to her conversation with Ardinger Tuesday night, Higgins said her opponent was acted very graciously.
Higgins credited her campaign's continued effort to reach out to voters even in the last few weeks of the race as having been instrumental in her win.
"We worked really hard from the beginning going door to door and on the phones and I think that is what made the difference," she said.
Her win marks the first time Higgins has ever been elected to office. Prior to beginning her campaign in early 2016 she worked primarily as an attorney and the executive director of the education advocacy group known as Public Higher Education Network of Massachusetts.
She had previously worked as an intern for state Sen. Jen Flanagan while in college; an experience she credits for initially making her interested in running for state representative.
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