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October 4, 2013

The reluctant candidate

Palmisano won't run but will take write-in votes

A third mayoral candidate has been nudged into the race for Gloucester’s highest administrative position, but he expands the field by no choice of his own, he said Thursday.

Joe Palmisano said that, in fact, he cannot even pose for a campaign photo or buy one of the maroon T-shirts bearing his name with an encouragement for others to write him in on the Nov. 5 ballot.

“I can have nothing to do with it,” Palmisano said Thursday, citing an ethics conflict from his federal government job at the Department of Agriculture.

When a group of residents, many from the Fort neighborhood in which he grew up, approached Palmisano asking him to run a write-in campaign, Palmisano explained that his current job prohibits him from campaigning, but the proposition “humbled” him, and he would not stop them.

“If people are going to vote me in, so be it, and I will be more than happy to roll up my sleeves and get to work and take care of my city,” Palmisano said.

Nathaniel Mulcahy, one of the people who began the write-in campaign favoring Palmisano, said he believes Palmisano appeals to a larger group of people than does incumbent Carolyn Kirk or her challenger Mac Bell, who pulled election papers and collected the 350 signatures within 24 hours of the due date.

“Gloucester’s a great city, but it’s a city that’s often divided and the divisiveness of the local politicians I see as detrimental to the community,” Mulcahy said. “Joe not only appeals to a much broader range but makes the reach out to the broader range. He makes the effort to bring the community together.”

Mulcahy said Palmisano’s distaste for a hotel in the Fort area has nothing to do with Mulcahy’s support, though he agrees personally. Rather, he stressed Palmisano’s community involvement and volunteer work in projects like the Gloucester Prevention Network, a coalition started to help troubled kids. Palmisano has also volunteered with the Open Door and participates as a Magnolia Lion.

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