BY PAUL LEIGHTON
---- — BEVERLY — Could 2013 bring a rematch of one of the closest mayoral races in the city’s history?
The potential candidates aren’t saying, but Bill Scanlon, Mike Cahill and Tim Flaherty also aren’t ruling out a run for mayor this year. All three said last week that they have not decided whether they will run again.
“It’s too early to make any decisions,” Scanlon said. “I’m giving consideration to the whole thing but have not made a decision.”
Scanlon defeated Cahill by 353 votes in November 2011 to win election to his ninth two-year term as mayor. It was Scanlon’s closest race since he was upset by Tom Crean in 2001.
The narrow defeat established Cahill, a 50-year-old former state representative and City Council president, as the top threat to Scanlon’s unprecedented 18-year run in office.
“I haven’t made any decisions,” said Cahill, who is executive director of the Alliance of Massachusetts YMCAs. “There’s a lot for anybody to sort through when considering that type of decision.”
Flaherty, who is also a former City Council president, was knocked out of the 2011 race when he finished third behind Cahill and Scanlon in a competitive preliminary election. He also did not rule out another run.
“I’m keeping my options open,” Flaherty said.
Scanlon, who will turn 73 in March, has often cited his desire to complete certain projects as a motivation for continuing to run for re-election. He has two big projects in the planning stages now, a new middle school and the Brimbal Avenue interchange.
Another potential candidate, City Council President Paul Guanci, said he would not run for mayor if Scanlon seeks re-election.
“I’ve always said I think Bill Scanlon should be mayor until he’s decided he doesn’t want to do it anymore,” Guanci said. “He puts in the time and effort, and he’s done so much.”
If Scanlon does not run, Guanci said he would have to decide whether he could maintain his business, Super Sub Shop, while also mounting a campaign for mayor.
“Whether I can do it or not, I don’t know,” he said. “It’s something I have thought of for years. We’re still thinking of it.”
Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or email@example.com.