The vote had to be particularly difficult for McCarthy, given Pinto’s many connections in the Willows neighborhood where the Ward 1 councilor resides and which has delivered him a lion’s share of the vote in recent elections.
Sargent was apparently willing to put his own at-large seat at risk in backing Pinto. Despite his seniority, Sargent has hardly been voters’ first choice among the four councilors elected citywide and might have found himself on the outside looking in come November. (That might still be the case, of course. Carr has announced he’s had enough and will not run for re-election this year, leaving one seat open; Legault has left open the possibility of running for a full, two-year term in the fall; Pinto and local businessman Darek Barcikowski, the first runner-up in the 2011 at-large race, are likely candidates; and who knows how many more might have been inspired to run by last week’s shenanigans.)
Nelson Benton spent 40 years covering politics on the North Shore before retiring from The Salem News. Contact him at email@example.com.