Stretch Run: Councilor, School Committee Candidates Preparing for Final Two Weeks of Campaign

With the final debates and candidate nights of this election season now behind us, candidates for Lynn’s City Council and School Committee will spend the next two weeks campaigning from dawn to dusk, to make sure they can identify their supporters and get them to the polls on Election day.

With the light turnout on Primary Day last month, many of the city incumbents were able to score comfortable victories and looked to be set up for wins on November 5. However, campaigns are often full of surprises and victories in September have turned into November disappointments in the past, so here is a quick primer on who the candidates are, who they are facing and an assessment of which are the races to pay the most attention to.

In the Councilor At-Large race, incumbents G. Buzzy Barton, Daniel Cahil and Hong L. Net easily topped the ticket in September and all have had successes in their time on the Council. Given that they were the only council candidates to garner more than 3,000 votes each in September, all three have to be considered favorites to return to the Council as At-Large representatives of the city.

With fellow At-Large Councilor Timothy Phelan locked in a struggle with Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy for Mayor, there will at least be one new At-Large councilor elected, the only question is whether it will be a new face entirely, or a former Ward Councilor moving up.

In the primary in September, name recognition probably helped former Ward 5 Councilor Brendan Crighton take the fourth spot in balloting. However, he was closely followed by two challengers who are looking to win their first citywide elections.

At-Large candidates Robert “Clay” Walsh and Paul T. Crowley finished in a bit of a grouping with Crighton as the three were separated by less than 300 votes on Primary Day. Crighton has experience as a Ward Councilor to draw from and he works for Lynn State Senator Thomas McGee, but Walsh and Crowley have been fierce campaigners, especially since September and Crighton knows the race is not over until the votes are counted on November 5.

Trailing Crighton, Walsh and Crowley in the polling for the At-Large Councilor were Miguel Funex and Aikaterini Koudanis, each of whom finished well behind the others in the primary.

Among the ward races, most of the incumbents who are facing challengers scored comfortable victories, except in Ward 1 and Ward 4. In Ward 1 Councilor Wayne Lozzi beat challenger Debra A. Plunkett’s by just 210 votes and in Ward 4 Councilor Richard C. Collucci beat challenger A. Murrell-Rosario by just 151 votes.

In Ward 2 Councilor William R. Trahant Jr. beat challenger Jesse C. Jaeger’s by 586 votes in the primary. Ward 3 Councilor Darren P. Cyr beat M. Ronald Mendes’ by 257 votes in the primary. Both candidates will be on the November ballot.

The Ward 5 race features two newcomers and in the primary Diana Chakoutis’ 376 votes were more than twice the number of votes that Jake Keo earned. However, Chakoutis was facing two challengers in September and if Keo can get the support of voters who had favored primary candidate Seth Albaum, it could become the most interesting race on the Council.

Ward 6 Councilor Peter L Capano and Ward 7 Councilor Richard J. Ford both are unopposed and and will return to the council.

The School Committee race appears to be much closer, with six of nine candidates each earning more than 3,000 votes. The top five vote getters will win election in November.

Among the candidates vying for a seat on the Lynn School Committee are Donna M. Coppola, John E. Ford Jr., Charlie Gallo, Patricia M. Capano, Richard B. Starbard, Maria O. Carrasco, Lorraine Gately, Melissa L. Romaniello and Stanley H. Wotring Jr.

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