SALEM — Today’s election will narrow the field of candidates for School Committee, mayor and city council wards 4 and 6, setting the stage for the Nov. 5 election.
Polls are open until 8 p.m. throughout the city today.
Voters will eliminate two School Committee candidates today, narrowing the field from eight to six people. One candidate from each of the remaining races — mayor, Ward 4 and Ward 6 — will also be eliminated.
Ward 4 is the only race without an incumbent, as current Ward 4 Councilor Jerry Ryan is running for councilor-at-large. Three newcomers are running for the position: Gina Flynn, a longtime resident and branch manager at a downtown bank, David Eppley, an attorney and member of Salem’s Zoning Board of Appeals and Sean O’Brien, a recent Salem State University graduate and former intern for Mayor Kim Driscoll.
Three people are also running for the Ward 6 position: incumbent Councilor Paul Prevey, newcomer Beth Gerard, a research assistant at the Harvard School of Public Health, and perennial candidate Kenneth Sawicki. Prevey, a federal court probation officer, was first elected as Ward 6 councilor in 2005 and took office in 2006.
Mayor Kim Driscoll faces two challengers: Sawicki and newcomer Cedric Ashley Jr., a recent St. Anselm College graduate and substitute teacher in the Salem Public Schools. Driscoll has been Salem’s mayor since 2006.
Sawicki is running for every office he is eligible for: School Committee, councilor at-large, mayor and Ward 6 councilor. Sawicki was Driscoll’s only opponent when she ran for re-election in 2009.
The school board race includes incumbents Janet Crane, Lisa Lavoie and Brendan Walsh, plus residents Patrick Schultz, owner of Howling Wolf Taqueria on Lafayette Street and a former Salem High School teacher; Rachel Hunt, head of the Salem Academy Charter School; Katherine Casiglia, a dental hygienist and Saltonstall School parent; and Richard Johnson, an editor and Saltonstall parent.