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Political Season Slow to Heat Up

Eight incumbents and one challenger have filed nomination papers

2011 is an election year here in Salem.

The City Council and School Committee are both on the voters' docket for November. At stake are two-year terms for the Council and four-year terms for the School Committee.

As of this past Wednesday afternoon, no standing School Committee members have pulled the required nomination papers to stand for re-election. 

Nate Bryant, Dr. Janet Crane, James Fleming and Kerry Ann Martin have yet to announce their intentions. Kevin R. Carr Jr., meanwhile, has already announced his intention to run as a Councilor-at-Large candidate. Three of the six school committee seats are to be on the ballot this year.

Six of the seven ward councilors have announced intentions to run again and have pulled their nomination papers. Robert McCarthy of Ward One, Michael Sosnowski in Ward Two, Jean Pelletier from Ward Three, John Ronan of Ward Five, Paul Prevey in Ward Six and Councilor Emeritus Joseph O'Keefe from Ward Seven are all moving forward with re-election plans.  As of yet, no opposition candidates in any ward have stepped forward.

Council President Jerry Lincoln Ryan of Ward Four said he pulled his papers to run again on March 17.

The Councilor-at-Large races are developing at about the same pace. Steven Pinto is out getting nomination signatures for a run at a third two-year term.  Thomas Furey, who started out on the school committee quite a few years ago, is again planning on wearing out his shoes in a door-to-door campaign. 

Councilor-At-Large Joan Lovely, a recent law school graduate who topped the ticket in 2009, seems to be weighing her options. The fourth At-Large incumbent, Arthur C. Sargent III, is believed to be running for another term, but has not formally announced his intentions.

In 2009, five of the seven ward councilors ran unopposed. There were only choices in candidates in Ward Three and Ward Five. This year looks like it will bring out some opposition in Ward Three and Ward Six. Ward Five also has heard some rumblings of an opposition candidate.

Recent years have produced some perennial candidates, chief among them Ken Sawicki who in 2009 ran pulled nomination papers for multiple offices. Sawicki told me he will be running again as a Councilor-at-Large candidate.

Nomination papers can be pulled in the Elections Office at . Those wishing to run will need to get the required signatures turned in by the end of July. Councilor at-Large and School Committee hopefuls will need a minimum of 100 signatures. Individual ward candidates need at least 30 signatures. The City Clerk recommends each potential candidate exceed the minimum by 20 percent, as each signature will have to be verified as a Salem resident and registered voter. Nomination papers must be returned to the elections office by July 29, 2011.

Spring is soon to be here followed by what should be a good summer. The political winds are beginning to gently blow. We will be here to help you gauge them.

Corrections: A former version of this article indicated there are four School Committee seat when, in fact there are six.

Jerry Ryan contacted Salem Patch directly and said he pulled his papers on March 17 to run for reelection.

Jerry March 27, 2011 at 12:33 PM
Hi Bill, I pulled my papers for Ward 4 Councillor on St. Patrick's Day. Also, on the school committee 3 members are on the ballot this year and the other 3 members will be on the ballot in 2 years. If Kevin Carr wins a seat on the City Council he will need to be replaced on the school committee since he is in the middle of his 4 year team.
William Legault March 27, 2011 at 01:03 PM
Hey Jerry, The elections office told me last Friday you had not pulled yet and that none of the school members had pulled their papers yet.
Jerry March 27, 2011 at 01:19 PM
I am not saying that any school committee members had pulled papers just that only 3 of the members are up for re-election this year, not all 6. I want to say the 3 are Kerry Martin, Nate Bryant and Dr. Brendan Walsh.
William Legault March 27, 2011 at 02:49 PM
Thanks Jerry
KlassySalem March 27, 2011 at 07:43 PM
Will Blatty be running in Ward 3 yet again?
Mike Blatty April 05, 2011 at 06:40 PM
Thanks for asking, Klassy Salem! One hates to say no sooner than necessary, but at this point I do not expect to run again. I expect to be on the West Coast for much of the summer and as usual I am not prepared to commit to an all-out door-to-door campaign which voters have every right to ask of their would-be councilors. I have run for local office 6 times (yes, six times!) and been defeated every time. The writing seems to be on the wall, and yet I am not one to throw in the towel even so and I continue to be haunted by the notion that with a little more effort (knocking on doors for a change and spending more than $25 per campaign for flyers on average) I might just have a shot at winning for a change. Certainly I do not feel that I face a daunting challenger in my own ward! What I do not like to see is any candidate runninbg unopposed in any ward. I do not think this is good for the city or the voters. So to answer your question directly, I don't think so, but I'm not sure. How's that for waffling? Cheers!
william conant April 17, 2011 at 11:43 AM
Komrade: An existential manifesto. I commit willingly and publicly that you might have my vote! Citizen Conant

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