Aggressive challengers vie for votes, seek to unseat mayor

JULY 7: The mayoral campaign races along at a fever pitch as the candidates scour the city for every vote they can muster. Low voter turnout predictions in an off year election make every vote count. (Photo by Jim Mahoney)


The mayor, Gerly Adrien and Fred Capone have been crunching voter numbers for several months.

The numbers don’t lie – that is – the number of voters expected to come out on Primary Day is about 5,000 “give or take several hundred,” according to City Clerk Sergio Cornelio.

Cornelio told the Leader Herald the history of mayoral primaries back to the beginning of the decade reveals low voter turnout for primaries and larger voter turnouts for November elections.

When there is no presidential election or gubernatorial race to drive voters to the polls, “election numbers are naturally lower,” Cornelio said.

‘This year represents a different kind of election coming up. Making predictions about it is all about uncertainty,” he added.

Predictably, the mayor believes he is way ahead. He believes he cannot be beaten.

Why not.

He has won every time out since he was first elected almost 14 years ago – an impressive winning streak for a mayor whose public life is riddled with charges of sexual violence and harassment, allegations of municipal fraud, and signed US Attorney’s Office documents, including an agreement to provide information to the FBI about colleagues, developers, and associates at his own risk of being arrested and prosecuted should he lie.

Four years ago, he ran unopposed.

Today, he faces two aggressive candidates, both with large voter bases, who are working daily and hourly to unseat him in the primary.

He also faces a changed Everett voter demographic.

In the last four years, it is estimated that at least 1,500 DeMaria die-hards have either moved out of the city or been laid to rest in local cemeteries.

Add to this the rise of Adrien as a woman of color, appealing largely to people of color and ethnicity, and to those, whether white or Black, left out of the mayor’s design for the city’s future.

Everett is now a minority-majority city.

Adrien topped the ticket less than two years ago to become the city’s first Black city councilor at large.

“How many votes will she get in the primary?” I asked a longtime city official who wished to remain unnamed.

“Adrien will win one of the two spots in the primary,” he said. “I believe it is a guarantee,” he added. “She will get out her vote. There is no doubt about this.”

The minority vote is by a wide margin, the largest block of voters that is likely to be motivated to come out and to vote or will be drawn out to vote by Adrien’s organization.

Cornelio said that getting out the primary vote is problematic, usually, for all candidates.

“Many people believe their vote isn’t necessary until the November election,” he added.

The Capone vote should take many votes from the mayor’s column.

How many is the question?

As the good guy, family man, a man of integrity, Capone will receive votes from those members of the community who are done with the mayor for a wide variety of reasons.

“If you don’t like the mayor, you are voting for Fred Capone,” said the source. “Is that enough for him to beat the mayor? Maybe,” he added.

“The mayor might beat himself.”

Several local political experts claim the mayor may be beating himself by peaking too soon.

“What good are the 500 signs already put up by his supporters if he peaks too soon?” said a source. “I would have waited to put up the signs.”

Almost in the middle of July, these are the weeks when campaigns generally shut down.

Not so this year in Everett.

Adrien and Capone remain in overdrive.

The mayor isn’t sitting idly by, either.

Adrien and Capone’s door-to-door onslaught is a daily thing.

The mayor was seen last Wednesday visiting with residents of Glendale Towers, and before that, with residents of Whittier Place.

The candidates are motivated. They have to be if they want to win.

Splitting 5,000 votes in a hotly contested primary between the three candidates makes for an extraordinary contest.

The mayor is putting out the disinformation that his numbers are higher than ever, and that Adrien’s are dreary – that she doesn’t have a chance.

Those close to Adrien claim her numbers are so good right now it is uncanny.

Capone’s numbers have been rising for weeks since he announced.

All three candidates believe they are going to win.

Everyone can’t be a winner in this upcoming contest. The campaigns move forward, and they intensify.

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