ATTLEBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — City Councilor Cathleen DeSimone has won the special election for mayor of Attleboro, according to results released by the city after polls closed Tuesday night.

DeSimone defeated three other candidates: Acting Mayor James DiLisio, former City Councilor John Davis and political newcomer Timothy Barone. She received 2,667 votes or 49%, while DiLisio received 2,279 votes or 42%.

A lawyer, DeSimone ran on a platform of preserving the city’s financial stability.

“Through careful budgeting and planning, we will be able to maintain high-quality delivery of city services, continue addressing much needed water, roads, and other infrastructure projects while also working to build a new senior center, adding more and diverse housing options, and protecting our green spaces,” she told 12 News in response to a candidate survey.

The unusual February election was held to fill the unfinished term of former Mayor Paul Heroux, a Democrat who left office in January after being elected Bristol County sheriff.

Turnout was anemic, with just 5,446 of Attleboro’s 32,932 eligible voters casting a ballot — for a total voter turnout of only 16.5%.

DeSimone and DiLisio both received big-name endorsements. DeSimone was supported by Heroux, as well as The Sun Chronicle. DiLisio was backed by former Gov. Charlie Baker and former Mayor Kevin Dumas, both Republicans.

The newly elected mayor will face voters once again just months from now, during the regularly scheduled biannual election for the job this November.

Ted Nesi ( is a Target 12 investigative reporter and 12 News politics/business editor. He co-hosts Newsmakers and writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook