CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – There are municipal elections in all of western Massachusetts’ cities this year, however in the Pioneer Valley, there are only preliminary elections in Springfield, Chicopee, Holyoke, Westfield, Northampton, and Greenfield.
Not all of these communities have preliminary elections for mayor, some of them only have elections for council, and in a couple of cases, only have a preliminary in a particular ward of the city.
Preliminary vs. Primary
A preliminary election in Massachusetts is different from a primary election.
Primary elections are typically held in order to decide on a party’s nominee for a particular office. Because municipal elections in Massachusetts are nonpartisan, there is no primary for city/town offices, but a preliminary election is held to narrow down the field of candidates to double the number of available seats.
For instance, if there are four candidates for mayor, a preliminary election narrows that field down to two. If there are 12 candidates running for a five-member council, only 10 candidates will make it through the preliminary.
For most offices that are up in November, preliminary elections were not necessary.
Springfield – September 10
Incumbent Mayor Domenic Sarno, who has served as mayor for 11 years now, is running for another four year-term in office. He is being challenged this year by former police officer and community activist Yolanda Cancel and author Jeffery Donnelly. Linda O’Connell, a founder of the Valley Advocate newspaper and former co-president of the League of Women Voters, is also on the ballot, but she suspended her campaign in late July due to a health issue.
City Council At-Large
Four out of the five incumbent Springfield City Councilors at-large: Justin Hurst, Jesse Lederman, Kateri Walsh, and Tracye Whitfield, are running for re-election this year. At-Large Councilor Tim Ryan is running for council in Ward 6, a seat which is becoming vacant this year. As a result, there will be at least one new city councilor at-large in Springfield following the November election. There are 11 candidates on the preliminary ballot for five seats, meaning that all candidates but one will make it to the November ballot. The non-incumbent candidates on the ballot are: LaMar Cook, Sean Curran, Kency Gilet, Johnnie Ray McKnight, Kelli Moriarty Finn, Christopher Pohner, and Israel Rivera.
City Council, Ward 4
City Councilor E. Henry Twiggs, who has served Ward 4 since the beginning of ward representation 10 years ago, is not running for re-election this year. Running to replace him are five candidates: Malo Brown, Lorenzo Gaines, Larry Lawson, Jynai McDonald, and George Savage.
Greenfield – September 10
Incumbent Greenfield Mayor William Martin is not running for re-election, and three candidates have emerged in the race to replace him. City Councilors Brickett Allis and Sheila Gilmour are running this year, as is former Greenfield Planning Board Chair Roxann Wedegartner. The two leading candidates will move on to the general election in November.
City Council At-Large
There are five candidates running for two available at-large seats on the City Council. Philip Elmer, Christine Forgey, James Henry, Terence Stigers, and Michael Terounzo are on the September 10 ballot. The top four vote-getters will advance to November.
Chicopee – September 17
Mayor Richard Kos is not running for another two-year term in office, leaving the mayor’s seat open for the first time since Kos left the office for the first time back in 2003. Running to replace him are former police officer Joe Morissette, City Council President John Vieau, and former Mayor Michael Bissonnette. The top two finishers will move on to the November election.
City Council, Ward 3
John Vieau’s decision to run for mayor leaves his Ward 3 council seat open. Running to replace him are W. Kaween Fernando, Lucjan Galecki, and Scott Maziarz. The top two finishers will move on to the general election.
Northampton – September 17
City Council, Ward 7
The only preliminary election necessary in Northampton is the one for City Council in Ward 7. Penny Geis, Hanuman Goleman, and Rachel Maiore are running to replace Alisa Klein, who is not running for re-election. The top two candidates will move on to November.
Holyoke – September 24
City Council, Ward 3
Holyoke’s only preliminary election is for City Council in Ward 3. Incumbent Councilor David Bartley is facing two challengers: Anne Thalheimer (who ran against Bartley two years ago) and School Committee member Dennis W. Berks, Jr. The two leading candidates will move on to the general election.
Westfield – September 24
Westfield’s only preliminary election is for the mayor’s office. Incumbent Mayor Brian Sullivan is not running for a third two-year term. Running to replace him are State Senator Don Humason, Westfield Police Captain Michael McCabe, Kristen Mello, a co-founder of the group “Westfield Residents Advocating for Themselves,” and political newcomer Andrew Mullen.