With ten weeks and one day to go before the filing deadline, the races for the school committee and city council seats are starting to look competitive.
So far, there are nine candidates for the five at-large city council seats, two candidates who are undecided as to whether to run at large or from a ward, and twenty-five candidates for the ward seats, with competition for every seat so far except ward 6.
For the school committee seats, five are running for the two at large seats, four haven't yet decided if they'll run at large or for a ward seat, and twelve people are running for the four ward seats. Combined wards 4 and 5 have only one candidate so far.
Of the nine current city council incumbents, only four are firmly in the running for the (now only) five at large seats: Bud Williams is running for mayor, Bruce Stebbins has announced he's not running, and Bill Foley, Rosemarie Mazza-Moriarty and Pat Markey haven't yet taken out papers. I've got pretty solid info that at least one of them is not running again, but I'll let that person make his/her own announcement.
Two incumbents, Timothy Rooke and James Ferrera, have already returned their signatures to the Election Commission and had them certified-- so they will definitely be on the ballot unless they withdraw. Incumbents Jose Tosado and Brian Santaniello have also taken out papers.
Incumbent Kateri Walsh and challenger Khali Maddox-Abdego of 15 Ventura Street. haven't yet decided whether to run at large or for a ward. Perhaps they're waiting to get a look at the competition before they decide?
Other at large challengers include Walter Gould, David Poehler, Victor Davila, Robert Francesca, Peter Appleby and John Rivera.
Here's the breakdown by ward so far:
Ward One: Zaida Luna, Gumersindo Gomez, Michael Tuckey and Rajah Walia. However, so far the Election Commission does not have Rajah Walia listed as either a resident or a voter.
Ward Two: Robert Underwood, Gil Perron, Luis Garcia and Thomas Sullivan. Mr. Sullivan has also turned in his signatures and had them certified.
Ward Three: Melvin Edwards, Larry Lawson.
Ward Four: Charles Stokes, E. Henry Twiggs, Lorenzo Gaines, Omega Johnson and Norman Oliver. Mr. Oliver is already certified to be on the ballot.
Ward Five: Clodo Concepcion and George Bruce.
Ward Six: Keith Wright. However, two potential candidates who have not yet taken out papers but came to Arise's workshop for candidates a few weeks ago are Richard Carpenter with Springfield Forward and Amaad Rivera with United for a Fair Economy.
Ward Seven: Alexander Sherman and Kenneth Pooler.
Ward Eight: Betty Agin, Gloria DeFillipo, John Lysak, Miguel Soto and Orlando Ramos. Mr. Ramos may not be eligible, however, because he has not lived in his ward for the required two years.
Incumbents Michael Rodgers and Thomas Ashe have taken out papers for the two at laerge seats; other at large challengers are felix Rivera, Denise Hurst (recognize that last name?) and Jaime Santiago. Incumbent Antoinette Pepe (wards 6,7) still hasn't decided if she's running at large or for a ward seat, nor have Nathaniel Davis (4,5), Rafael Bones (4,5) or Dawn Summerville-Simon (2,8).
Wards 1 and 3: Norman Roldan and Chris Joseph.
Wards 4 and 5: Frank Buntin
Wards 5 and 7: Orlando Santiago and Joshua Carpenter.
Wards 2 and 8: Darryl Williams and Joseph Flebotte. Mr. Flebotte, however did not register to vote until September of last year (according to the Election Commission) so will have to prove his two year residency in order to be eligible.
That's it so far, folks! Of course, a lot can still happen. Some people who took out papers may never return them and some will return them but fail to have 200 certified signatures. (Rule of thumb: get about 50% more signatures than you need!) Some people will take out and return papers between now and July 24th for the city council and July 28th for the school committee.
So everything is still wide open.
By the way, we now have four potential candidates for mayor: incumbent Domenic Sarno and challengers Bud Williams, David Pankhurst and and Jeff Donnelly.
At the moment, it looks like we'll have primaries in most of the wards for school committee and city council, and in all of the wards for mayor.
An editorial note: None of these elected offices should be treated like playthings-- every seat under the new system is an important seat that will help set the tone for years to come. I hope that neighborhood councils, civic associations and other organizations will make sure there are candidates' nights in every single ward.
Photo from Steven Jareb's photostream at Flickr.