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September 27, 2013

Benton: A big win for Cahill

It appears the biggest challenge facing Beverly mayoral candidate Michael Cahill heading into November’s election is overconfidence.

The former state representative and City Council president took a whopping 57 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s preliminary election, topping runner-up Wes Slate by more than 1,000 votes. That’s a far cry from two years ago when Cahill surprised incumbent Bill Scanlon by topping the ticket with 36.5 percent of the vote. (Unlike Tuesday, however, that election featured a third legitimate challenger in former councilor Tim Flaherty,who took 27.4 percent of the vote, finishing behind Scanlon who had 33.6 percent.)

Many, including Scanlon, believed the 2011 election was Cahill’s to lose, which he did to Scanlon by a narrow margin two months later. But the challenge facing Slate, the current Ward 2 councilor, is significantly more formidable.

Slate’s been working hard and will receive a formal endorsement from Scanlon soon. But the respect Beverly voters have for Scanlon’s smarts and prodigious work ethic is not easily transferable, and Slate, who has run only on the neighborhood level until now, faces an uphill slog.

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Peabody Ward 3 City Council candidate James Moutsoulas recently forwarded a copy of his campaign brochure via a mutual friend.

It brought to mind a confrontation that took place in the late Salem News publisher Cy Newbegin’s office several decades ago following a series of editorials and columns that had targeted Moutsoulas and fellow councilor Joyce Spiliotis.

Newbegin heard them out but insisted that I be present. (During my 40-year career at the paper, I was fortunate in having worked for a series of supportive and fair-minded publishers beginning with Newbegin and extending to the current occupant of that office, Karen Andreas.)

While the unfavorable articles had been concerned solely with the pair’s actions as city councilors, Moutsoulas insisted there must be something personal behind them.

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