By JOHN HOWELL After being closed for nearly three months without an appointment, City Hall opened Monday and candidates came in to file their declaration papers. And while the pandemic has put a dampener on political fundraisers, rallies and walking
After being closed for nearly three months without an appointment, City Hall opened Monday and candidates came in to file their declaration papers.
And while the pandemic has put a dampener on political fundraisers, rallies and walking door-to-door to meet the public, it hasn’t stifled interest in elective office.
As of the 4 p.m. declaration deadline Wednesday, a three-way race is shaping up for mayor. Incumbent Mayor Joseph J. Solomon faces a primary for the Democratic nomination with Carel Callahan Bainum, who declared for mayor in 2014 but withdrew from the race. The winner of the primary will face former School Committee chairman Frank Picozzi, who is running as an independent, and Ray McKay, a Republican.
Among the most highly contested seats in the city are in Ward 1, Ward 9 and Senate Districts 29, 30 and 31, where there promises to be Democratic primaries as well as Republican or independent challengers or both.
Now that they have declared, the candidates must obtain their signature papers and have them returned with the required number of registered voters to be listed on the ballot. The number of required signatures varies by office with 200 the required number for the mayor and the two citywide school committee seats.
Usually by this time in the election year cycle, candidates are well on their way having announced at events attended by supporters, issuing statements on their positions and doing what they can to raise money. Even before COVID-19 and the lockdown in March, there was little to no buzz on the election scene other than the announcement by incumbent Senate Dist. 31 Erin Lynch Prata that she would not seek reelection, as she would file as a nominee for an upcoming vacancy on the state Supreme Court. Kendra Anderson, a progressive Democrat who had already announced her candidacy, soon thereafter was joined by Steve Merolla, City Council President, who said he wouldn’t seek reelection to the council. Two more Democrats, Brian Dunckley of 27 North St. and Michael Mita of 9 Alicia Circle, have also declared setting up a potential four-way primary. Setting the stage for a Republican primary, Scott Zambarano, 21 Island View Drive and John Silvaggio have declared as candidates.
In Senate District 29, where Senate Majority Leader Michael McCaffrey is running for reelection, progressive Democrat Jennifer Rourke is making another run for the seat. The winner would face Jean Trafford of 54 Winchell Road, who has filed as a Republican.
A Democratic primary redux is also shaping up in Senate District 30, where incumbent Mark McKenney faces Jeanne Calkin. A progressive Democrat, Calkin held the seat for two years before losing to McKenney in a primary. Also running for the seat is John Ritchie, who has declared as an independent.
As recently as two weeks ago, it appeared Republicans didn’t have a single candidate to challenge any of the council or state Senate and House seats held by Democrats – or, for that matter, a candidate for mayor. Following a party meeting June 13, GOP Party Chair Richard Cascella promised a good complement of candidates, although he declined to make public any names.
Indeed, the Republicans are putting on less than a full court press, but they are making a showing. In Ward 1, Scott Phillips of 1201 Narragansett Parkway will face the winner of the Democratic primary between incumbent Richard Corley and William Foley, who served a single term on the council representing Ward 6 from January 2001 to January 2003.
As already mentioned, Thomas Trudell is running as a Republican in Ward 6. John Falkowski is running as a Republican in Ward 3 against incumbent Timothy Howe, and in Ward 9 – the seat being vacated by Merolla – Armand Lusi of 120 Spencer Ave. is running under the GOP banner. Zachary Colon and Vincent Gebhart declared as Democrats, making for a primary. Also running are Aaron MacKisey of 319 Larchwood Drive and Sean Henry of 189 Wampanoag Road, who declared as independents.
In Ward 8, incumbent Anthony Sinapi faces a challenge from Daniel Elliott, setting the stage for a Democratic primary.
Incumbent Democratic council members who are going unchallenged are Jeremy Rix in Ward 2, James McElroy in Ward 4, Ed Ladouceur in Ward 5 and Stephen McAllister in Ward 7.
In the state representative races, incumbent District 19 Rep. Joseph McNamara faces a primary challenge from Stuart Wilson of 67 North Country Drive. The winner will face Patrick Maloney, who filed as an independent. In District, 20 incumbent David Bennett is running unopposed, as are Evan Shanley in District 24, Joseph Solomon Jr. in District 22 and House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi in District 23. Camille Vella-Wilkinson in District 21 faces Ron Loparto, who is running as a Republican.
In the races for the two at-large School Committee seats, incumbents Karen Bachus, the committee’s chair, and David Testa are running for reelection. Also running are Gregory Fraginis of 122 Julian Road and Gary Costantino.