SALEM — Former Councilor-at-large Steven Pinto is running for Ward 1 councilor, challenging an incumbent who did not vote for him when the board selected a successor to Joan Lovely in January.
Pinto was one of six residents who volunteered to be appointed to fill the vacancy created this winter as Lovely resigned to be sworn into the state Senate. Ward 1 Councilor Robert McCarthy voted for Lucy Corchado and, eventually, the compromise candidate, William Legault, to be appointed.
Pinto, who served four years as a councilor-at-large before losing his bid for re-election in 2011, took out papers to run for Ward 1 councilor on Thursday and was campaigning door-to-door yesterday.
“This is about me wanting to serve. It’s not about the past,” Pinto said yesterday, when asked if his candidacy was in reaction to McCarthy’s January vote. “It’s about me wanting to move forward, and serve.”
McCarthy also said the challenge is not personal and is all part of the democratic process.
“(Having a challenger) opens up debate and discussion, brings the issues to the forefront, and that’s all good,” he said. “For me, politics is politics and personal is personal. I’ve never tried to cross the line between the two.”
Pinto said he knew he wanted to run for City Council, and chose the Ward 1 race because job commitments keep him from having the time needed to campaign city wide for councilor-at-large.
“I would really like to serve my own ward,” he said. “It’s a good opportunity for me, with my experience.”
McCarthy, a business owner and general contractor, is finishing his third term and sixth year on the City Council. Pinto, a metal fabricator for Ipswich Bay Glass Company, served on the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals before he was elected to the council.