“Every race you work hard,” Driscoll said. “We try and work through issues and solve problems — that’s what I spend most of my day doing and will keep doing ... That’s the process, and it doesn’t make me work any less or think about the job differently.”
One of Salem’s three mayoral candidates will be eliminated in a Sept. 17 preliminary. Also running are perennial candidate Kenneth Sawicki and newcomer Cedric Ashley Jr. Sawicki was Driscoll’s only opponent in 2009.
Ashley, a Salem native and 2012 St. Anselm College graduate, acknowledged that he may be in a David vs. Goliath-type situation.
“I’ve played football my whole life, and I’ve always been the underdog. It’s not something I’m worried about,” said Ashley, who works at a Highland Avenue gas station and as a substitute teacher in the Salem schools. “I know that the battle’s going to be uphill ... I’m ready, I’ve been ready for this. People know that I’m pretty bold and outspoken. I’m not afraid of the challenge. I welcome the challenge.”
The Driscoll effect
With Driscoll, it seems that a number of factors are keeping serious challengers at bay.
She has an impressive track record, putting the city’s fiscal house largely in order, hiring strong aides and department heads, and working to encourage a slate of development, from the new parking garage and MBTA station to redevelopment of the city’s power plant and ferry landing at Blaney Street.
“She just has a very good combination of leadership, tenacity and temperament,” said Claudia Chuber, former city councilor and School Committee member. “She knows political attacks are just that and doesn’t waste time on the fights that are not on the issues ... Nobody can question her intelligence, her ability her commitment.”