, Salem, MA

Local News

November 4, 2013

At-large council race dominates Peabody election


The post of library trustee has drawn six candidates seeking four seats. Incumbents Don McAllister and Jean Ahearn are in the mix with Paul Misci, Louis Chinappi, Stephanie Najjar and Robert Forti.

People must be happy with education in Peabody, as the School Committee race drew no new opponents for three incumbent candidates seeking re-election. Three seats are available with Jarrod Hochman, Beverley Griffin-Dunne and Tom Rossignol more than likely to be returned. Similarly, incumbent Charles Bonfanti is the only candidate for a single seat on the Peabody Municipal Lighting Commission.

For Liacos, this is the first election in 14 years where he isn’t on the ballot. It’s a bit of a relief, he said, because when you’re competing for a spot, “It’s a full court press.” That means phone calls, mailings, door knocking, holding signs while waving at passers-by and organizing campaign people. It’s an effort ongoing on “for 30 days before the election. ... You spend the last week going to every political party there is.”

You run scared, Liacos said, and if you don’t run scared, you probably shouldn’t be running at all. In big elections, for mayor or state representative, you organize “poll checking” before Tuesday, preparing a list of all your friends and all the people who have promised you their votes. Next, you get people to the polls to check off the names of those who show up.

“If it’s 4 or 5:00, and so-and-so hasn’t voted yet, you get them down there,” he said.

Putting aside his support for Bettencourt, who has no opponent and school board member Dave McGeney, who isn’t up for re-election this time, Liacos has no extraordinary ties to any of the candidates on tomorrow’s ballot. However, he expects the race for councilor-at-large to be dominated by people who have already shown an ability to run for office and hold it. On the other hand, he urged those first-timers who aren’t successful to keep at it.

“I ran and lost for School Committee the first time,” he recalled.

Alan Burke can be reached at

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