The exodus of three incumbents has opened up a wild scramble for seats on the City Council.
Nineteen candidates have taken out nomination papers for the nine-member board, the most in years, according to longtime election observers.
“We haven’t had that for a long time,” said City Councilor Maureen Troubetaris, who is not running for re-election. “It’s very healthy for the city.”
The biggest burst of activity has come in Ward 1, where Troubetaris has served as city councilor for the last 22 years. Her upcoming retirement has unleashed a flurry of five candidates. And it’s still seven weeks before the deadline for taking out nomination papers.
Troubetaris said the five candidates are the most in Ward 1 since before she first ran for office against three others in 1991. She ran unopposed in several elections thereafter.
The announced departures of At-large Councilor Scott Dullea and Ward 2 Councilor Wes Slate also sparked a rush of candidates. Four new candidates have taken out papers for an at-large seat along with incumbents Paul Guanci and Jason Silva, while two new candidates have stepped forward in Ward 2.
Dullea is stepping down to devote more time to his family, while Slate is running for mayor.
There are also challengers for incumbents Jim Latter (Ward 3) and Scott Houseman (Ward 4). The only unopposed council races so far are in Wards 5 and 6, where incumbents Don Martin and Brett Schetzsle are seeking re-election.
Troubetaris said some of the candidates who took out nomination papers early might not have expected so much competition. If all five Ward 1 candidates return their nomination papers with the required number of signatures, there will be a preliminary election on Sept. 24 to whittle the field down to two for the Nov. 5 election.
“There’s some very good candidates out there,” Troubetaris said. “My advice to all of them is to knock on doors. You have to find out what the issues are.”
Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
City Council candidates At-large: Leonore MacKay Gall, Paul Guanci*, Todd Murphy, Todd Rotondo, Matthew St. Hilaire, Jason Silva* Ward 1: Daniel Fishman, David Lang, Susan Woods Powell, Timothy Rubchinuk, Brian Williams Ward 2: Lance Daly, Estelle Rand Ward 3: Scott Hunt, Jim Latter* Ward 4: Scott Houseman*, John Mullady Ward 5: Don Martin* Ward 6: Brett Schetzsle* * Incumbent