BY PAUL LEIGHTON
---- — BEVERLY — For the first time in 20 years, Beverly voters will head to the polls for a mayoral election without the option to vote for Bill Scanlon.
Scanlon, who has served as mayor for a record nine terms, announced in April that he will not seek re-election. In tomorrow’s preliminary election, voters will have a choice among former city councilor Mike Cahill, current city councilor Wes Slate and U.S. Army veteran Euplio “Rick” Marciano.
The top two candidates will advance to the Nov. 5 final.
The campaign has been quiet, with no debates scheduled until after the preliminary. Nevertheless, the candidates said they have been campaigning hard to make people aware of the preliminary and to get their supporters to the polls.
“We’ve very optimistic,” Slate said. “We’ve been working really hard since the day I announced in June. We’re taking nothing for granted.”
Cahill is making his second run for mayor, having come within 353 votes of beating Scanlon in 2011. He has topped the ticket in six previous citywide elections, including five for state representative and one for at-large city councilor.
“This is the first of two that I need to win,” Cahill said of the preliminary. “That’s really the only way to look at it. We need to be one of the top two to get on the ballot in November. We’re putting all of our efforts to doing those things that help you get there.”
Marciano is making his third attempt at the mayor’s office. He survived the preliminary election in 2007 before losing soundly to Scanlon in the final, then lost in the preliminary in 2011. He has also lost two races for City Council.
In addition to the mayor’s race, voters in Ward 1 and Ward 2 will weigh in on two highly competitive races for open City Council seats.
In Ward 1, five candidates are running to replace 22-year incumbent Maureen Troubetaris, who is not seeking re-election.
The candidates are former congressional candidate Daniel Fishman, longtime Conservation Commission Chairman David Lang, Ryal Side Cafe owner Susan Woods Powell, Cafe Salerno owner Michael Rotondo and constable Timothy Rubchinuk.
In Ward 2, Slate's decision to run for mayor has created an opening for his City Council seat.
Running for that seat are Children’s Trust Fund Deputy Director Bryant Ayles, health outreach worker Lance Daly, former substitute teacher Rosemary Maglio and Beverly Farmers’ Market owner Estelle Rand.
The top two finishers in those races will advance to the Nov. 5 final election.
The 2011 preliminary election drew just over 6,700 voters, or 28 percent of registered voters.
Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or email@example.com.