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City Council challengers Jesse Gordon and Sam Seidel await election results Nov. 8, 2005, at the Central Square senior centers, where results were being counted. (Photo: Schuyler Pisha)

City Council challengers Jesse Gordon and Sam Seidel await election results Nov. 8, 2005, at the Central Square senior centers, where results were being counted. (Photo: Schuyler Pisha)

Patty Nolan became the story of Election Day 2005 with an upset win that put her atop the list of School Committee winners. Her 2,366 votes yesterday put her above even incumbent Fred Fantini.

Challenger Nancy Walser also made it onto the committee, with 1,987 votes. Members Ben Loomis and Marc McGovern appeared to be bumped by last night’s preliminary results.

Things were less clear when it came to City Council tallies, where incumbent David P. Maher earned fewer votes than two challengers, Craig Kelley and Sam Seidel.

Political pundit Robert Winters cautioned that a Kelley win wasn’t yet certain, as numbers may shift as results are tallied. Many votes could shift from Galluccio to Maher, he said.

There won’t be official results until Nov. 18, but a firmer set of numbers — the unofficial complete results — should be available at about 5 p.m. today, according to Election Commission officials.

Numbers were late coming through last night; while preliminary results were expected at 9:30 p.m., it was more than a half-hour later that the numbers started to come through. A broken hard drive was blamed.

Seidel made an extraordinarily strong showing for a first-time candidate, with 967 votes.

Kelley had 1,033 votes this time around, a modest rise over his showing two years ago. In the previous election, he got 992 votes.

Nolan, upon getting the news that she won, called home.

“I won the election!” she told her waiting husband and kids, urging them then to get to sleep and — of course — get to school on time and rested.

“They are the reason I was running,” said Nolan, who credited an issues-based campaign for her win. Nolan, a Chicago native but a Harvard grad, said she plans to put money back into Cambridge classrooms no matter what, with cutting administrative salaries being one way to accomplish that without raising the city’s education budget.

M. Ripley, a resident whose primary concern is education, said her No. 1 pick was Brian Murphy because he seems to be “the only member of the council who wants to talk about things that need to be fixed,” such as busing. And she said she liked that he leans strongly toward public schools, rather than charter schools.

“I really believe in strong schools,” she said. “We have one of the strongest university systems, but our public schools are not that great.” Cambridge Rindge & Latin School is “literally around the corner from Harvard,” but has been on probation in recent years for academic deficiencies.

“That is very sad,” she said. “In fact, it’s pathetic.”

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