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November 4, 2013

At-large council race dominates Peabody election

PEABODY — Election day is tomorrow with nine candidates vying for five seats as at-large councilors and three ward council seats up for grabs.

At the top of the ballot, Mayor Ted Bettencourt is unopposed, and the lack of a tussle at the top may be one reason City Clerk Tim Spanos sees a 28 percent turnout tomorrow. The estimate is based on things like absentee ballots, and Spanos noted that it might be different “if the mayor’s race was contested.” Even so, he added, “We expect the race for at-large councilor and ward councilor will bring people out.”

Meanwhile, Spanos alerted voters that despite what they’ve read about efforts to remove polling places from schools, no decision has been made, and voters can vote where they have voted previously, including at schools.

Only four incumbents are seeking the five at-large seats as a result of the retirement of Jim Liacos, who will enjoy a break from campaigning for the first time in seven City Council elections. Veterans Mike Garabedian, Dave Gravel and Anne Manning-Martin (all former School Committee members, as well) are seeking re-election, along with Tom Gould, who is vying for his second term. They will be contesting with former state representative, former at-large councilor and former school board member Tom Walsh, library trustee Margaret Tierney, past candidate Russ Donovan and newcomers Scott Frasca and Peter Bakula.

Longtime Ward 2 councilor Arthur Athas faces a challenge from novice candidate Peter McGinn, brother of Mayor Peter Torigian’s campaign manager John McGinn. In Ward 3, as a result of the retirement of longtime Councilor Rico Mello, former candidate Thomas Serino is matched against former councilor Jim “Demo” Moutsoulas. And Ward 5 sees former at-large candidate Robert Croce battling Joel Saslaw, as a result of veteran Dave Gamache stepping down.

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