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HARVARD — “We are doing well,” said Finance Committee member Marie Sobalvarro of her win Tuesday in a special town election for the Board of Selectmen. “Life is good.”

Over the weeks since former selectman Leo Blair resigned, Sobalvarro and challenger Bill Johnson have waged what both sides have labeled as a clean race to serve out the balance of Blair’s unexpired term.

It was close in terms of figures, with just a 34-vote split between the two — Sobalvarro garnering 892 votes, Johnson 858. But the divide was clear enough for Johnson to call to concede to Sobalvarro Tuesday night.

The candidates had spent a long, chilly day in person, holding signs and putting on an 11th hour push alongside their supporters on the front driveway at the Bromfield School. The candidates expressed relief that the weather was at least dry if not that warm. As the sun set, the shivering set in. Some enterprising Sobalvarro supporters brought in a portable generator and flood lights to ensure their signage was illuminated as evening voters pulled up.

In the distance, the bell tolled as Bill Cory manned a Salvation Army kettle at the entrance to the gymnasium. Cory was able to fill his kettle with holiday donations, thanks to the flurry of foot traffic to cast ballots in the evening.

Inside it was all business. And Sobalvarro got the job done.

SOBALVARRO: I’m excited and look forward to starting.

“It was a huge turnout,” said Sobalvarro following the compacted, 11-week campaign. “I had a great team of people working with me.” She gave thanks to Sharlotte Eiland, her campaign treasurer, as well as Bob Eiland for all their work. She thanked “the Bromfield parents who stood out with me at Bromfield yesterday morning. The retirees who came out to hold a sign or write a letter. It was lovely. I’m very pleased.”

“Bill ran a good campaign. It was gracious.” This was Sobalvarro’s second selectman run, and it was Johnson’s first.

Many had struggled to identify clear differences between the two camp’s platforms. Others wondered if there’d be any real or perceived tip of balance on the Board of Selectmen. Sobalvarro said, “I think it’s just time to get on with the work” and playing on a frequent theme, she said she’d “get a cup of coffee” to send her on her mission.

Sobalvarro planned on trying to visit Town Clerk Janet Vellante on Wednesday to be sworn in. A mother of school-aged children, she also said she was “going to read in my daughter’s first grade class” despite the busy prior day.

On Thursday night, Sobalvarro said she planned on being present for her first Joint Boards of Selectmen meeting on Devens, which will serve as her first selectmen meeting. As towns look to economize with scale, she says it’s perhaps fitting that JBOS will serve as her first selectmen’s’ meeting.

“I think that we definitely have a seat at the table and need to work to collaborate with Ayer and Shirley,” said Sobalvarro. While big sweeping regionalization efforts may need to be fleshed out, “I think in small steps it can happen immediately,” she said.

JOHNSON: “No lose-lose situation…only a win-win”

On Tuesday night following the tally announcement, Johnson said of his 34-vote loss. “I’m actually OK with that because I think it reflects that the town thought that there were two very good candidates,” he said. “Because it was close, it reflects that.”

“I’ve always said all along that there is no lose-lose situation. It’s only a win-win for the town,” Johnson said.

He was pleased with the support he garnered for this, his first campaign. “What’s really cool about this is I’ve gotten already far more than I put into it. I met an incredible number of people and made an amazing number of connections that can be very useful in getting things done in town,” he said.

“The way the campaign was run engendered a lot of trust in people. In me, it generated a lot of passion to continue to contribute to the town,” said Johnson.

He cited a sit-down he had with Ginger Quarrels of the Council on Aging recently to get up to speed on COA needs and objectives. “We ended up spending hours talking and brainstorming about things that could be done to take what’s already a wonderful, blossoming program and making it that much better.”

“I told her, no matter how it turns out, I’d love to help in any way I can to try to get you more resources,” said Johnson.

Now that his feet are wet as to elected Harvard politics, will he run again, perhaps this spring? “I’m getting tremendously harassed in my home right now to run in the spring. To be honest, I actually haven’t thought much about it.”

“I’ll tell you, I’m not going to wait till the spring to get engaged to help where I can and then we’ll see where things sort out,” said Johnson. But he also said, “there are others that would like to get engaged in town. I want to make sure I don’t preclude others from running.”

“Right now what we need to do is focus on supporting Marie and we need to encourage her and support her to essentially set out all the things that we said were important and needed to be solved,” said Johnson. “To unite people in solving the problems and try to reduce or eliminate the divisiveness around personalities and constituencies in politics because I think that’s what people really wanted when this whole race started. And I think we need to hold all the selectmen accountable to do that.”