It may be hard to believe, but it is only twenty weeks until the next municipal election in Springfield. July 26th marks the point at which the door closes for political aspirants to join the field to be a part of our humble democracy. Until then, the list may grow. However, WMassP&I has the rundown on who has dipped their toe into the city's ever turbulent municipal waters. The names below have only taken out papers. They have yet to return them with sufficient signatures to be placed on September's primary ballot.
For mayor, there really is not any news. Unless some of the names filed are ghosts from Springfields past (no, there is no apostrophe missing), the heavy hitters on the list are School Committeewoman Antonette Pepe, City Council President Jose Tosado and Mayor Domenic Sarno. Jeffrey Donnelly, Michael Jones, Albert Dziewt and Alexander Fisher-Levesque round out the less known cadre of mayoral hopefuls.
So far no opponents have signed on to challenge Ward 2 Councilor Mike Fenton and Ward 7 Councilor Tim Allen. Ward 5 Councilor Clodo Concepcion appears to have no challenger thus far as well, but WMassP&I needs to clarify with the Election Commission to confirm this All three councilors have filed their reelection paperwork. Indeed all incumbent councilors have thus far filed paperwork for another council run, Tosado excluded.
By far the seat that has attracted the most attention is Ward 6. Four (and originally five) candidates have filed for that seat. The reason is somewhat understandable. The seat is more or less open as the incumbent Councilor Amaad Rivera has decided to run at-large. Originally, Rivera had filed earlier this year for reelection to the ward, but decided ultimately that to go for the at-large seat. Among those to file so far are Kenneth Shea, a former School Committeeman; Matt Levey, a leading member of the Ward 6 Democratic Party Committee (a possibly outdated website lists him as Treasurer); Jacob Seldin and Santino Bruno, a real estate agent. The latter two do not appear to have a political history in Springfield.
Jillian Mercadante has filed papers to run against Zaida Luna in Ward 1. Melvin Edwards may face a challenge from William Augustus Lessard in Ward 3. Charles Stokes may challenge E. Henry Twiggs in Ward 4. Orlando Ramos, who lost to John Lysak in 2009 is seeking a rematch in Ward 8.
With Tosado leaving, an open at-large seat is also up for grabs regardless of whether the other four incumbent at-large councilors win or lose reelection. In addition to Amaad Rivera, a number of familiar names have resurfaced from the past. Bud Williams, a longtime councilor who ran for mayor in 2009, is seeking a new term. Vera O'Connor, who has run for the council in the past is seeking an at-large seat. Justin Hurst, the husband of Denise Hurst, a school committeewoman, has also filed paperwork. He has both a Facebook Page and a website already.
Among the potential candidates who have filed that do not attract much attention from Google are John Stevens, David Ciampi, Miguel Soto, Bruce Samuel Adams and Joseph Fountain.
More names may appear on this list as we approach the deadline. Again these are merely the names of those who have taken out paper work to gather signatures. There is no guarantee that the above individuals will actually see the light of a ballot. Still, it is important to keep an eye on the process. When a final list of candidates comes together, we will post it as well as investigate the candidates further. Who knows, there may be other surprises on that list...