The filing period for Manchester’s coming fall elections brought a handful of surprises, both for who filed and who didn’t. Among the surprise non-filers were former Alderman at-Large Mike Lopez. Lopez had been expected to file for reelection to the seat he’d held for six terms prior to being defeated in the 2011 election. Lopez was unavailable for comment. There will be no primary for alderman at-Large in September.
Surprise filings cropped up in a handful of places around the city.
Despite rumors that appeared confirmed by the entry of fellow Democrat Linda DiSilvestro into the race for Alderman in Ward 2, Alderman Ron Ludwig filed for reelection this afternoon. Ludwig, who uncharacteristically did not return our calls over the course of the filing period, seemed to grow disenchanted with City Hall and was said to be frustrated by the unwillingness of his colleagues to override the city’s cap on tax revenue and spending. He allegedly told a recent meeting of the Manchester City Democratic Committee that he wouldn’t “leave them in the lurch,” but that he didn’t want to run again. DiSilvestro entering the race seemed to let him off that hook. Within an hour of the filing period closing, DiSilvestro withdrew from the race.
In Ward 8, State Representative Steve Vaillancourt, a former alderman who ran and lost the race for alderman last year against Tom Katsiantonis, filed his candidacy for the school board. Incumbent Erika Connors, running for her second term, filed her paperwork earlier in the week. A new comer to politics, Connors has played a key role among the seven freshmen on the school board in changing the tone and direction of the board. She speaks mostly to ask questions, which have proven themselves to be penetrating and on point, often eliciting otherwise unknown and useful information.
Former State Representative and candidate for State Senate J. Gail Barry filed for the school board in Ward 9. She’ll face incumbent Arthur Beaudry in November, there being no primary.
A primary for alderman in Ward 10 popped up, too as State Representative Jane E. Beaulieu who was defeated by incumbent Alderman Phil Greazzo in 2011 filed her candidacy. Beaulieu’s filing surprised many given that there had been little if any “chatter” about her running. Democrats seemingly had settled behind the candidacy of Bill Barry, who lost a close race for Hillsborough County Sheriff to incumbent James Hardy in2012. Greazzo, true to his tradition, filed right before the filing period closed at 5 o’clock. He’s gained notoriety in recent weeks by his intervention to help the KC’s Rib Shack reopen it’s popular outdoor facility after being battered by city regulators.
The race for alderman in Ward 11 was shaken up as well. Mark Lareau filed his candidacy and Curtis Howland withdrew his. Lareau joins incumbent Normand Gamache and contestant Christopher Hussey.
Political gadfly Glenn RJ Ouellette filed for mayor today, creating a September primary. It will be the only city wide primary on the ballot. Ouellette announced he would file yesterday if he could successfully scrounge around to obtain the $100 filing fee, despite saying early in the process he would not run. While he’s not a credible threat, the creation of the primary could pose problems for Patrick Arnold, the Ward 12 alderman who chose to run for mayor instead of reelection. Recently married and with a newborn just weeks old, many have commented that Arnold seems to be running an invisible campaign. While he is likely to have substantial union and Democratic Party support for his candidacy, they had hoped to avoid a primary against the formidable campaign apparatus of Mayor Ted Gatsas, fearing that a distant second place finish would seal the campaign’s fate.
In addition to primaries for mayor, alderman in wards 2, 9, 10, 11 and 12 and school board in wards 2, 6 and 12, there will be primaries for moderator in wards 1 and 12 and ward clerk in wards 3 and 12. Looks like Ward 12 will be this primary’s hot spot.
Incumbents who escaped having a challenger include at-Large school board members David Wihby and Kathy Staub, Ward 1 School Board Member Sarah Ambrogi, Ward 5 Alderman Ed Osborne, Ward 7 Alderman Bill Shea and Ward 8 Alderman Tom Katsiantonis. In Ward 4, Amy Bradley, an activist for Citizens for Manchester Schools is unopposed in the race for school board.
Of 90 races, there will only be primaries this September in thirteen, a mere 14%. By contrast, 24 races, 27%, are uncontested, meaning fewer than two thirds of the available offices in the city will be challenged.
We’ll have analysis of the filings and the races on Monday’s show. Here is the complete list of filings. Be sure to tune in!