By Bethany Bray
---- — SALEM — The city will hold a September election to whittle down the number of candidates running for mayor, School Committee and City Council Wards 4 and 6.
Yesterday was the final day for Salem candidates to return paperwork to make it onto the ballot. A preliminary election — the local equivalent of a primary — will be held Sept. 17, and the municipal election will be Nov. 5.
Mayoral hopefuls Elvis Alvarez and William Russell Burns III, as well as Paulette Puleo, who had pulled papers to run for city councilor at-large, did not return paperwork by yesterday’s 5 p.m. deadline.
City Council Ward 4 will be the only race without an incumbent, as current Ward 4 Councilor Jerry Ryan is running for an at-large seat. One of the newcomers running for Ward 4 — Gina Flynn, David Eppley and Sean O’Brien — will be eliminated in the September preliminary.
One of the Ward 6 candidates, incumbent Councilor Paul Prevey, newcomer Beth Gerard and perennial candidate Kenneth Sawicki, will also be eliminated next month.
Mayor Kim Driscoll faces two challengers: Sawicki and newcomer Cedric Ashley Jr.
In addition to mayor, Sawicki is running for School Committee, councilor at-large and Ward 6 councilor. Sawicki was Driscoll’s only opponent when she ran for re-election in 2009.
Eight candidates are running for three open School Committee seats; the September primary will reduce the field to six.
In addition to Sawicki, the school board race includes incumbents Janet Crane, Lisa Lavoie and Brendan Walsh, plus residents Patrick Schultz, Rachel Hunt, Katherine Casiglia and Richard Johnson.
Three candidates are unopposed: incumbent Councilors Joseph O’Keefe (Ward 7), Josh Turiel (Ward 5) and Todd Siegel (Ward 3).
Bethany Bray can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @SalemNewsBB.
Who’s on the ballot
**Current Ward 4 councilor