, Gloucester, MA

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November 2, 2013

At-large candidates race to finish

The City Council campaign for the four available at-large seats is entering the homestretch, with the eight candidates crisscrossing the city in a blur of signage, meet-and-greets and door-to-door politicking that makes you wonder how they don’t all end up at the same spot at the same time.

In fact, that’s happened more than once, in a Times debate and a number of campaign forums. But the whirl of activity finally will cease at 8 p.m. Tuesday, when the Gloucester polls close and the composition of the new city council will be set.

”It’s going to be a tough race,” said Bob Whynott, one of three incumbents seeking to return to the council against five challengers. “You really can’t predict it because there’s so many people running. And with all the new people, you don’t know who (among the incumbents) they’re going to take votes from.”

That uncertainty has made for something of a free-for-all through the myriad of debates, candidate forums, coffee klatches and old-school standups. If you’ve driven around either of the Gloucester rotaries in the past month, you wouldn’t have much trouble picking most of the candidates out of a lineup.

In Gloucester, a city steeped in its old-world traditions, campaigning remains a retail enterprise. While some of the candidates have ventured into the brave new world of online and social media, the bulk of the campaigning among this group remains a face-to-face endeavor.

”In Gloucester, the elderly are still the most dedicated voters,” said challenger and former Ward 3 councilor Steve Curcuru. “They’re not part of Facebook. That’s the reality. That’s the direction most of us have gone and it seems to work.”

With Tuesday’s municipal elections approaching, the Times sampled the eight candidates to find out how they’ve been spending their campaign time and what issues the electorate continues to raise out on the stump.

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