by Josh Resnek
Gathering signatures to get your name on the ballot is a job and it is also an art.
Some gather their signatures quickly, and record many more than they need. Others simply achieve the amount needed by gathering as a few as possible to attain that end.
Still others never gain the amount needed and their candidacies fail right out of the starting box.
As of Tuesday afternoon, records on hand at the Election Commission at city hall reveal 39 candidates who have taken out nomination papers.
Of that number, 24 have submitted signatures that have been certified.
However, only a handful of candidates have been certified to have their names on the ballot.
A look at those candidates can be revealing, although too much attention should never be paid to the gathering of signatures.
In the at-large race, Councilor at Large Mike Marchese has topped the signature gathering ticket with 294 certified signatures.
Catherine Hicks is just below him at 292.
Councilor at Large Wayne Matewsky comes in with 276.
Councilor at Large John Hanlon has 262.
Candidate James Lavecchio has 257.
And Richard Dell Isola, presently the council president, has 248 certified signatures. He needs 2 more certified signatures to get his name on the ballot again.
The at-large race could be decided by Lavecchio, according to a host of politicians interviewed for this piece.
There are four at-large candidates who will be vying for 2 seats – that’s if Matewsky, Marchese, and Hanlon are returned easily as expected.
The two seats available are at the bottom of the at-large vote feeding chain.
Vying for those 2 seats are the following: Peter Napolitano, who has yet to certify any of his signatures, Richard Dell Isolla, Stephen Simonelli, with 149 certified signatures, and Lavecchio.
Lavecchio, many believe, will draw votes away from the others in what is expected to be a tight race.
Lavecchio’s chances of winning are slight, according to the experts.
But his presence in the contest makes it more difficult for the others to score clear victories. Napolitano and Dell Isolla were separated by something like 10 votes last time around, and Dell Isolla won his seat by 6 votes.
Simonelli’s presence is another sure sign that balloting for the “bottom seats” will be stiff, with votes being taken away from each of the candidates by the other.
How does this finish?
Either Dell Isolla or Napolitano wins one of the seats or both.
If one of them is to be knocked off, then Simonelli and Catherine Hicks victories might cause this to happen.
It is hard to predict.
We don’t know what kind of electoral year is coming up.
Will there be surprises? Will this be a year of dramatic change?
Those years are hard to predict.
Will there be only the vote to maintain the status quo?
If it is a year of surprises, then we can throw away all the speculation. But that is unlikely.
In the ward races, Councilor and Attorney Fred Capone is running unopposed – at least for the moment. All candidates have until July 19 to get their signatures passed in for certification.
Many claim the mayor wants to be rid of Capone because he can’t control Capone. Because he wants to be rid of him the mayor will find a candidate to run against him is the thinking.
The Ward 2 contest pits a longtime champion of the people Jason Marcus versus Stephanie Martins, apparently representing herself and the generation she was born into, and who brings to the table impressive credentials.
It is the old versus the young, woman versus man, highly educated versus educated in this contest. Martins is much younger than Marcus, who is in his late 60’s.
She strikes an amazing comparison to Marcus, who is a working man with a lifelong reputation here, who has won many an election during the past 25 years.
This contest is about the old crashing head-on with the new.
If Martins wins this contest, it is because the voters in that ward want new over old.
If Marcus wins, the ward has spoken for the tried and true over someone who is not as well known. Martins is now ramping up her campaign which is organized and well funded.
Marcus runs his own campaign.
This isn’t a toss up, not yet by a long shot.
This seat must be won.
In order to win it, the victor will be the candidate who worked the hardest and smartest.
Ward 3 Councilor Anthony DiPierro is presently unopposed. His lifeline is his relationship with the mayor, something that has served him well for the past several years.
Ward 4 features Councilor Leo McKinnon versus newcomer real estate broker Jimmy Tri Le. Observers claiming to know how the world turns in Everett politics all agree, Le has his work cut out if he expects to dump McKinnon from his longtime perch.
Le has turned in 284 certified signatures. This proves he’s been out getting signatures but has done little to convince observers that he can beat Mckinnon.
McKinnon hasn’t yet turned in his own signatures but this is coming, obviously.
Ward 5 Councilor Rosa DiFlorio has so far certified 211 signatures.
Her opponent Vivian Thuc Nguyen has not handed in any signatures so far.
Di Florio is more complex than she acts at the council.
She is a vote and a voice for the mayor – but she also remains her own person, especially as the only woman on the nearly all male council.
Nguyen is going to find that beating DiFlorio at her own game in her own ward is going to be a hard act to carry off.
Now to the main match – Councilor Michael McLaughlin versus businessman and chief supporter of the mayor, Al Lattanzi.
Nearly everyone who understands the ins and outs of Everett politics we talked with agreed – Lattanzi is running because the mayor asked him or ordered him or cajoled him to do so. That’s how close they are. The mayor wants to be rid of Mclaughlin, who has been a bother to him.
Being a good soldier for the mayor, Lattanzi has pleased the mayor by running against McLaughlin. This is certain to cause the mayor to campaign for Lattanzi.
The mayor has already ordered his cousin DiPierro to put up signs and to running Lattanzi’s campaign for him against Mclaughlin.
This is not to be laughed at. DiPierro’s campaigning aided the state rep in getting himself re-elected. He supposedly promised DePierro a position but there was no cigar for that, only the victory cigar for the rep to smoke as he breathed sighs of relief that he made it for another 2 years.
McLaughlin has already begun campaigning in earnest. He is a dogged campaigner.
But the question is this: can he sustain himself against the onslaught of the mayor, DiPierro and Lattanzi in an effort to get himself re-elected?
Many observers of the local political scene say “Yes.”
On the other hand, many voices said, “No.”
For Lattanzi, jumping into the frying pan of local politics could get him burned. Whether he understands this or not, he is running.
Politics is never good for business – and Lattanzi is a successful businessman first and a wanna be politician second.
His connection with the mayor is both advantageous to his business and dangerous, quite possibly, to his personal well-being.
Being a close associate and friend of the mayor is not panacea.
The mayor remains a hot property among many in law enforcement who investigate municipal corruption. His relationship with the mayor is the most solid thing about his candidacy, it is also, we repeat, his courting of real danger.
The mayor is on trial in this contest.