BEVERLY — City Council President Mike Cahill announced yesterday that he is running for mayor, setting up what could be the city's most competitive mayoral race in years.
Cahill joins incumbent Mayor Bill Scanlon and former City Council President Tim Flaherty as major candidates who have joined the race. Scanlon has won a record eight mayoral elections, while Flaherty and Cahill have both been the leading vote-getters in City Council races.
Cahill said he decided to run because, "We need a new way of doing business in Beverly."
"We need a leader who will throw open the doors to the mayor's office and invite this whole incredibly talented community to the table," he said.
Cahill, a 49-year-old Beverly native, served five terms as the city's state representative from 1993 to 2002 and ran an unsuccessful campaign for state treasurer in 2002.
After nearly a decade out of political office, he ran for City Council in 2009 and topped the ticket to become council president. He is a lawyer and the executive director of the Alliance of Massachusetts YMCAs.
Scanlon said yesterday that he was not surprised that Cahill has entered the race.
"He's certainly been giving it consideration for a long time," Scanlon said. "The more the merrier, I guess."
Scanlon is scheduled to announce his candidacy tonight at a fundraiser at Soma restaurant on Cabot Street.
Flaherty, a 43-year-old funeral director who served five terms on the City Council from 1999 to 2008, announced his candidacy in October.
A fourth candidate, retired U.S. Army veteran Euplio Marciano, said he also plans to run. Marciano ran for mayor in 2007 but did not raise any money.
Scanlon, 70, has won each of his last four elections with at least 59 percent of the vote since he was upset by Tom Crean in 2001. Now in his eighth two-year term, he is the longest-serving mayor in the city's history.