GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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November 3, 2013

Voters face multiple choices

Ballot has 23 candidates in contested races

A contested and sometimes contentious race for mayor, two contests for City Council ward seats, a packed race for councilor-at-large and a nine-candidate run for six School Committee seats will all be decided Tuesday when Gloucester’s voters take to the polls.

And voters will also choose from among three options when they weigh in on the future of the former Fuller School in a nonbinding referendum — all as part of the city’s biannual municipal elections.

Voters will be able to cast ballots between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. tomorrow in 10 precincts at nine locations, with both Ward 2 precincts in the youth center of Our Lady of Good Voyage Church on Prospect Street.

The election is topped by the race for mayor, with incumbent Carolyn Kirk seeking a fourth term against a challenge from Mac Bell.

Kirk, a business consultant and former School Committee member, first won election by defeating then-City Council president James Destino in 2007, then was re-elected in 2009 and 2011.

Bell, who was the youngest city councilor in the city’s history when he was elected in 1973, just two years out of Gloucester High School, has since become well known as a local businessman and real estate developer.

Over the past month, the two have clashed in a series of head-to-head debates, including one hosted by the Times, exchanging views and occasional barbs in meeting that have also played out over Cape Ann TV. They have also reached out to voters in all-candidate forums that drew the crowded fields of candidates making City Council and School Committee runs as well.

Members of the Port Community Alliance and some other residents have also pushed Joe Palmisano as a write-in mayoral candidate, though Palmisano himself has said he could not actively campaign due to a conflict with his federal job with the Department of Agriculture.

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