By Marjorie Nesin
---- — City Clerk Linda Lowe was still counting up signatures for 11th hour mayoral candidate Mac Bell’s collected signatures Wednesday night.
But all other candidates were accounted for, with crowded races emerging for the at-large city councilor and School Committee seats, with contested races for two of Gloucester’s five ward City Council seats as well.
Bell was the last of the city’s candidates for any office to submit his papers in the closing minutes before Tuesday’s 5 p.m. deadline. To that end, “we count them in the order in which they were received,” Lowe said Wednesday.
Each qualifying candidate had drawn papers, collected signatures, and turned the papers into the city clerk by Tuesday evening. Bell had collected 326 signatures before the deadline, after drawing papers just the day prior, but Lowe and her staff must certify that 300 of those signatures for his name to make the ballot.
Though Lowe has over a week to finish certifying signatures, she expects to complete the process today. The office’s counts showed that incumbent Mayor Carolyn Kirk had been certified for the ballot in seeking her fourth term.
A councilor-at-large candidate who passed his papers over to the clerk just before Bell Tuesday and had also drawn election papers just he day prior, was on track for certification of the 150 signatures required in the at-large race.
That at-large candidate, Dennis Latham, had failed to return papers for a spot on the mayoral ballot in 2011, citing his family’s concerns over his decision to run.
This time, Latham will join a pool of seven other candidates in the at-large race including, incumbents Joseph Ciolino, Robert Whynott and Sefatia Romeo Theken.
Greg Verga, the current Ward 5 councilor, is also certified on the ballot as an at-large candidate, along with former Ward 3 councilor Steven Curcuru and challengers Robert Whitmarsh, Jr. and Paul Lundberg.
Barry Pett, who took out papers to run, did not return any signed papers by the Tuesday deadline.
Another crowded race, that for School Committee, will display nine candidates on the November ballot.
Incumbents Melissa Teixeira, Kathleen Clancy, Tony Gross and Jonathan Pope will share the ballot with Michelle Sweet, Joel Favazza, John D. MacEachern Jr., John “Jack” O’Maley, and Hannah Scialdone Kimberley.
Current member Roger Garberg never drew papers for re-election and member Valerie Gilman drew papers but later withdrew from the race.
Lauren Riley, a new potential challenger, drew and returned papers with over 150 signatures, but she failed to collect at least 150 certifiable names and did not make the ballot, falling about 18 signatures short, according to the clerk’s office.
On the ward front, Ann Frontiero Mulcahey — who commented previously that there was no race in Ward 2 until she turned in all of her signatures to get a rematch with incumbent Melissa Cox — was certified and to on the ballot along with Cox Wednesday night. Cox had unseated Mulcahey in 2011 for the downtown seat after Mulcahey served her first term in the ward over 2009-2011.
Ward 5 residents will also get to choose between two newcomers, Scotadam Chernov and William Fonvielle. James Michael Mulcahey, who initially drew papers for the ward, did not return signed papers by the deadline.
Incumbents will run unopposed in Gloucester’s three remaining wards: Paul McGeary in Ward 1, Steven LeBlanc Jr. in Ward 3 and current Council President tJackie Hardy in Ward 4.
Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3451, or at email@example.com.