By JOSH RESNEK
It was an epic Everett political weekend for the ages.
Councilors Fred Capone and Gerly Adrien both announced candidacies for mayor.
Their announcements, one coming on top of the other, have altered the local political landscape.
The mayor now faces a spirited September primary against two formidable candidates who appear to be serious about their candidacies.
The mayor, who was the first to announce several weeks ago, awakened to a radically changed political landscape Saturday morning.
Friday the mayor was touting himself as the mayoral candidate who cannot be beaten.
Saturday, he faced a two-front campaign versus two very able public figures who both promise to run vigorous, well-funded efforts to unseat him.
Adrien and Capone are appealing to voters to rethink the future as well as to take a closer look at the present under the mayor’s 12-year stay in the corner office.
Everything about the mayor’s leadership will be questioned and quite likely be challenged by these two.
All three are very different people.
Adrien’s run is an act of political daring and hubris in the current political environment. An Everett lifer with two college degrees, she is the first Black woman to be elected city councilor. She is married. Her family lives here. She is the first Black woman to run for mayor. The mayor is not speaking with Adrien, an indication of the fear or the practiced indifference with which he is facing Adrien’s run.
Several months back several of Adrien’s colleagues called for her resignation questioning her behavior as a counselor.
Adrien fought back against that outrage, which is based, in part, on racist tendencies held by some of her colleagues but denied.
Adrien’s voice is tuned in to the underdogs, to the people of color and ethnicity, to those who are left out of the city hall influence circuit, who want city jobs and opportunities despite the color of their skin.
Capone’s jump into the political frying pan has been a long time coming. Like Adrien, he is an Everett lifer.
A lawyer without a frivolous or corrupt bone in his body, he has pledged to bring integrity and honesty back to the corner office.
A ten-year councilor, a successful businessman, father, and husband, Capone has his friends and relatives in the Everett community. His wife, Michele, is also a lawyer and will be running the campaign by her husband’s side.
The mayor, Adrien, and Capone are all considered able campaigners with a great amount of energy and a desire to win.
All three are known for conducting aggressive campaigns.
All three are proven winners – the mayor being at the top of that totem pole with 12 years in as mayor.
Political handicappers in the city are discussing the candidates as well as the upcoming vote.
What will happen to the vote with three candidates?
Is it the mayor’s advantage to have two contenders instead of one?
Two substantive, successful, attractive, honest challengers versus the city bully and thief spell a very large bump in the road early on for the mayor.
At the beginning of the war in Europe, when Hitler chose to invade Russia, he had one front to worry about. France and nearly all of Europe had already been conquered.
When Hitler invades Russia, now he had two fronts to worry about. It caused his demise and the Nazi defeat. Two front wars are hard to wage. They are harder to win.
She was elected because many thousands of white people and women voted for her, not because Blacks and browns and minorities swept her into office. This is one of the elements that make her candidacy so interesting.
The same can be said for Capone.
Women will vote for Capone because he is not a sexual harasser and does not play sexual politics privately or publicly as the mayor has done. His image and the mayor’s reputation are like night and day.
Adrien is a woman’s woman – coming out of herself to achieve what only men have achieved in Everett in politics. This drives the women’s vote her way
It used to be that the elderly voted for the mayor exclusively – and they vote all the time, unlike younger people who promise to vote but don’t show up on a primary day.
No one will own the elderly vote. All three candidates will be forced to appeal to the elderly – and all three will do this.
Then there are city employees, almost entirely white, looking at a mixed field.
City employees who must contribute to the mayor’s campaign several times a year might think twice about voting for the mayor again.
Capone doesn’t want city employees contributing to his campaign. Unlike the mayor, Capone won’t threaten city employees with the loss of their jobs if they don’t contribute. He’s not that kind of guy.
The mayor is.
The remaining families of police officers and firefighters can have an influence, but most of our first responders don’t live in the city.
Bottom line, all three candidates will need to identify their vote and bring it out on primary day.
Strategy-wise, Adrien running is a worse nightmare for the mayor than Capone running alone.
Capone is a bad enough nightmare because he’s smart and well respected, honest and smart about watching the people’s tax money in this city.
He is a completely different type of upright man than the mayor.
The mayor will attack Capone to neutralize him.
If he succeeds, he’s left with Adrien, who he cannot attack. The mayor attacking Adrien will commit harikari. Attacking a respectable Black woman or making assertions about her that aren’t true will paralyze the mayor’s campaign.
Adrien also brings the outside into Everett – organizers, people of color, and ethnicity who will campaign all over the city for her – and money – lots of money.
It was not lost on the mayor that Adrien’s announcement was touted in an article in the Boston Globe.
The Globe will have a heyday with the mayor’s past sexual harassment peccadillos as well as his racist leanings and court records showing he may have received bribes and commissions for the sale of real estate that led to the casino.
All of this will translate into positive gains for Ca- pone, whose track record is “dope” as younger people might use that slang word with one another.
The stage is now set.
Sit back and enjoy the spectacle of a real primary race for mayor which is now unfolding.