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October 30, 2013

Sosnowski leads in council money race

McCarthy, Pinto closely matched for contributions in Ward 1

SALEM — Ward 2 Councilor Mike Sosnowski, who is facing his first challenger in a decade, has raised more money than any City Council or School Committee candidate, according to campaign finance reports filed this week.

Sosnowski, 65, who is seeking a sixth term, reported more than $13,000 in total contributions, including $9,865 raised in the past few months.

His challenger, Heather Famico, a 27-year-old schoolteacher making her first run for office, has raised about $4,000 — or less than a third of Sosnowski’s total.

In neighboring Ward 1, the City Council race is too close to call, if campaign donations are any measure.

Incumbent Bob McCarthy, who is seeking a fourth term, entered the year with nearly $3,500 and has raised $6,500 since January for a total of almost $10,000. Challenger Steve Pinto, a former councilor-at-large, reported contributions of about $8,400, including nearly $6,700 this year.

In the battle for four councilor-at-large seats, newcomer Elaine Milo, an administrator at Salem State University, reported campaign contributions of $6,700, most of which arrived recently.

Council President Jerry Ryan, the Ward 4 councilor who is now running at-large, raised more than $6,100 this year.

The relatively large amount of fundraising and spending in the School Committee race reflects the heightened interest this year, when the school system is in the midst of a turnaround effort. Three incumbents and three strong challengers are battling it out for three seats.

Incumbent Brendan Walsh, a former school administrator seeking a third term, led all candidates with about $4,000 in donations, including $1,745 in the past two months. Rachel Hunt, the head of school at the Salem Academy Charter School and a first-time candidate, wasn’t far behind, raising nearly $3,000, according to her latest filing.

Mayor Kim Driscoll, who is not facing a serious challenge next week, still raised a lot of money this year, according to a report filed before the preliminary election. She reported donations of about $25,000 this year, which brought her campaign treasury to more than $81,000. She listed total expenditures of almost $34,000.

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