State Sen. Joan Lovely, a former Salem city councilor, agreed that Driscoll’s track record makes her hard to beat, as well as the city’s recent change from two-year to four-year mayor terms.
Driscoll’s predecessor, Stanley Usovicz, was the first Salem mayor to have a four-year term, Lovely said.
“(With a four-year term) you’re able to raise more funds, which makes it much more difficult to compete (against) an incumbent with a sizable war chest,” Lovely said. “It makes it harder to take on someone that has good money in the bank.”
“I think that Kim Driscoll, with all due respect to my friends (former mayors) Jean Levesque, Samuel Zoll and Stanley Usovicz, I think she’s the best mayor I have seen in all that time, hands down,” said George Atkins. “That’s the reason why there’s no opposition.”
Atkins, a former city councilor, ran for mayor in 1977 and has been involved in Salem politics since the 1960s.
“Although I think she’s destined for higher office, I hope we can keep her in Salem for as long as possible,” Atkins said.
Driscoll, whose name is often tossed around when pundits talk about possibilities for state-level offices, answered frankly when asked last week if the next term could be her last in Salem.
“I have no idea (if the next term could be her last),” she said. “I’m certainly enjoying what I do, and I’m very lucky to be mayor of a place that has such a history and a bright future.”
Bethany Bray can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @SalemNewsBB.