For the first time in years, candidates have lined up in impressive numbers to run for City Council and School Committee seats in the City Election this year – so much so that there will most likely be a Primary Election for Council at-large for the first time since 2003.
Nomination papers came due on Tuesday at 5 p.m. and City Clerk Debbie Clayman said it appeared that there would be enough candidate certified in the at-large race to trigger a primary election on Sept. 22. There were five candidates certified by Tuesday evening, and the remaining three who had turned in papers appeared to be well on their way to certification, though nothing was confirmed with those candidates by press time.
“If two of the three candidates or all three of the remaining candidates are certified, it appears that we will have a primary election for at-large City Council on Sept. 22,” she said.
Those candidates certified were:
- Calvin Brown (incumbent)
- Leo Robinson (incumbent)
- Damali Vidot
- Todd Taylor
- John Cadiz
Those candidate who were not yet certified, but appeared to be on the way, were:
- Roy Avellaneda
- Deborah Washington
- James O’Regan Jr.
Clayman said there needed to be seven candidates to trigger a primary election, and the election would whittle it down to six candidates for the November City Election.
There are three seats available, including an open seat for retiring Councillor Brian Hatleberg.
The Election Department has until Aug. 18 to complete certification and candidates have until Aug. 20 to withdraw from the race.
A Primary in District 5 was a certainty at press time with three certified candidates fighting for one seat.
The incumbent, Joe Perlatonda, will face a rematch with Planning Board member Henry Wilson.
Also in the race is a young upstart, Judith Garcia, who is a life-long Chelsea resident and has previously worked for the REACH program at Chelsea High School.
All three are certified and guaranteed a place on the Sept. 22 ballot. Only one will be eliminated for the November election.
But there was far more excitement.
There are a series of seats that are contested in the November election, but didn’t trigger a Primary Election – with many Latino candidates emerging for a run.
In District 2, challenger Luis Tejada has turned in paper, but was not yet certified for the ballot. He will face incumbent Chris Cataldo, who was certified by press time.
In District 4, local activist and SEIU union activist Enio Lopez has been certified for the ballot and is already mounting a run. Incumbent Paula Barton turned in her papers Tuesday just before the deadline, and had not yet been certified for the ballot. Barton had hinted privately that she might not end up running again, but apparently will now vie for the seat.
In District 7, incumbent Clifford Cunningham has been certified for the ballot, and will face newcomer Yamar Rodriguez, who is also certified.
District 1 Councillor Paul Murphy, District 3 Councillor Matt Frank, District 6 Councillor Giovanni Recupero and District 8 Councillor Dan Cortell do not have an opponent on the ballot.
At the School Committee level, only incumbent Shawn O’Regan put in papers for an at-large seat, so he will not face any challengers.
District 5 School Committee will have a contested race with newcomers Robert Pereira, who is certified for the ballot, facing newcomer Kizzi Reyes – who turned in papers but is not yet certified.
In District 8 School Committee, Elizabeth Shahinian is certified for the ballot and will face Yessenia Alfaro, who has not been certified. Alfaro is known by many for her work at the Chelsea Collaborative.
Those not facing any challenge are:
- District 1 incumbent Rosemarie Carlisle (certified)
- District 2 incumbent Jeannette Velez (not certified)
- District 3 incumbent Richard Maronski (not certified)
- District 4 newcomer Diana Maldonado (not certified)
- District 6 incumbent Ana Hernandez (certified)
- District 7 incumbent Charles Klauder (not certified)