LOWELL -- Middlesex North Register of Deeds Richard Howe Jr. cruised to a fifth six-year term, capturing about 72 percent of the overall vote in Tuesday's election.
With preliminary results from all 10 communities in the district, Democrat Howe had 72,772 votes to independent challenger Karen Cassella's 28,738 votes.
Reached early Wednesday afternoon, Howe said he had seen some results from the voting machines in Wilmington showing him ahead by a similar margin but he still did not have full preliminary results.
He said he feels "terrific" about being reelected, and is looking forward to what he believes will be his "most exciting term yet."
The registry has been in the same location for 160 years, and within the next couple years, Howe will oversee its move to the new state-of-the-art judicial center.
"Based on my experience and accomplishments, I think I was the person best suited to maximize the benefits from that move," he said.
Howe pointed to his 24 years of providing good customer service to everyone who accesses the registry as a big part of his victory.
"I think that, even though people... don't drive through a rain storm to get to the polls to vote for register of deeds, when they see it on the ballot, they remember, 'When I needed a copy of my deed, I was able to get that easily enough,'" he said. "I think that helped.
Howe said he took the challenge of a contested race very seriously from the beginning, especially coming from within his own office -- Cassella is a junior document reception clerk at the registry. He said Cassella called him Wednesday morning to congratulate him on his win.
"I know she worked very hard, and that in turn forced me to keep working hard," Howe said.
He said he doesn't expect the election will affect their working relationship.
"The way I've approached it the 24 years I've been here, the people here are professionals and I treat them professionally," he said. "That's not going to change."
Cassella could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.
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