November Ballot Set: Most Incumbents, Like Ward 3′s New Councilor, Will Face No Opposition.
Several candidates for the Nov. 8 election waited until the last few days to hand in their nomination papers. But no one stepped up to challenge the new Ward 3 city councilor.
By DAVID REID
NORTHAMPTON – Ward 3’s Owen Freeman-Daniels, the newest and youngest member of the City Council, will run unopposed on the Nov. 8 ballot, Northampton Media has learned.
Freeman-Daniels, 31, was elected on Aug. 2, trouncing Arnold Levinson, 70, in a special election to fill the unexpired term of Angela Plassmann, who quit in April. That term expires in five months, on Jan. 2, 2012.
And on Monday, Freeman-Daniels submitted his nomination papers to run on Nov. 8 for a full two-year
term starting in January. According to City Clerk Wendy Mazza, no other candidates – including Levinson – took out or turned in nomination papers for the seat by today’s deadline.
Although a challenger for any position could mount a write-in campaign, no other names will appear on the ballot opposite that of Freeman-Daniels.
Where Are All the Candidates?
Almost none of the candidates for City Council, School Committee or other numerous positions on the Nov. 8 general election will face competition. There will be no September preliminary election, and voters will have few choices to make when they go to the polls in two months.
One exception is the contest for mayor. By Tuesday afternoon, no new candidate had surfaced in this race, leaving only City Council President David Narkewicz and former council president Michael Bardsley to face off. (Bardsley turned in his papers last week.) The two will vie to replace outgoing Mayor Clare Higgins, who chose not to run for a seventh two-year term and then announced she will leave office in mid-September to take another job.
Narkewicz will serve as acting mayor starting on Sept. 9, while still holding down his job as an at-large city councilor and the council president. He will not run for re-election to the council. In 2009, Bardsley narrowly lost his bid to unseat Higgins.
Another exception is the election of two at-large council seats, where the names of four candidates will appear on the ballot: incumbent Jesse Adams, Marijon E. “MJ” Adams (no relation), Michael Janik and former Ward 1 councilor William Dwight.
Among the incumbents not facing a challenge this year are City Clerk Mazza and several city councilors: Ward 1’s Maureen Carney, Ward 4’s Pamela Schwartz, Ward 5’s David Murphy, Ward 6’s Marianne LaBarge, and Ward 7’s Eugene Tacy. In Ward 2, challenger Jacquelyn Misa has turned in papers to challenge incumbent councilor Paul Spector.
For the two at-large School Committee seats, there will be only two candidates on the ballot: incumbent Michael Flynn and Blue Duval, who placed third in 2009 for one of these seats. Incumbent James Young did not seek re-election.
The other School Committee candidates on the ballot, all running unopposed, are: in Ward 2, Andrew Shelffo (incumbent Lise Glading-DiLorenzo chose not to run); in Ward 4, incumbent Edward Zuchoski; and in Ward 6, longtime committeewoman Lisa Minnick.
Other Positions on the November Ballot
Also on the ballot are several other positions:
— The Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School Board of Trustees (three seats). Incumbents Thomas Fitzgerald, John Cotton and Michael Cahillane are all running unopposed.
— Elector under the Will of Oliver Smith. Incumbent David Murphy is running without opposition.
— Forbes Library Board of Trustees (three seats). Only three candidates are running, incumbent Bonnie Burnham and newcomers Peter Rowe and Joseph Twarog.
— Community Preservation Committee (two seats). James Durfer, Marlene Ann Morin, David Rothstein, and Mari Gottdeiner are running, with the top two vote-getters taking office.
By the close of business Tuesday (Aug. 9), the Nov. 8 ballot was pretty well set, but not carved in stone. The reason: some candidates for office waited until hours before the official deadline – in fact, Blue Duval waited until one minute before Tuesday’s 5 p.m. deadline – to hand in their required 50 signatures.
Those eleventh-hour candidates won’t appear on the ballot unless their voter signatures are certified by city registrars. One last step is then required: the would-be candidates must physically hand the certified nomination papers to Mazza or one of her assistant city clerks by Aug. 23 to get their name on the ballot.
But by mid-day Wednesday, though, Clerk Mazza reported that all the candidates who turned in nomination papers met the minimum threshold of 50 registered voter signature. So the list of qualified candidates is final.
One final note: Besides this reporter, only one other person waited outside the city clerk’s office to find out if any last-minute candidates emerged: James Nash, the campaign manager for Freeman-Daniels.
Nash said his candidate, who won 75 percent of the votes in last week’s special election, was not anticipating a challenger would surface, but was prepared to campaign hard if Levinson or another candidate returned nomination papers.
It is a battle Freeman-Daniels will not have to fight again this year.. . .maybe.
© 2011 Northampton Media
David Reid can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org