For more than 40 years, John McCarthy worked for the city of Gloucester, enforcing its laws as a police officer and eventually as interim chief.

Now, McCarthy wants to be part of crafting the city’s laws, or ordinances.

He is one of three people to take out papers to run for a councilor at-large seat since Monday, after council President Paul Lundberg announced through a weekend Facebook post that he would not be seeking re-election.

McCarthy, who took out nomination papers Wednesday morning, is one of three candidates to jump into the councilor-at-large field since early Monday, 

Christopher DiMercurio-Sicuranza, a communications consultant who formerly worked as the city’s constituent service liaison in the office of Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken, and Peter Cannovo, a local contractor who, among other roles, has been a St. Peter’s Fiesta Greasy Pole walker, also took out papers to collect signatures.

They join incumbents Melissa Cox, Jamie O’Hara and Jennifer Holmgren and challenger Joe Ciolino, a former council president, in what has become a bustling seven-way race for the four at-large seats. Voters can choose up to four candidates when they go to the polls.

Weighing a run

McCarthy, who retired at the end of March after 40 years with the Gloucester Police Department and 2 1/2 years as its interim chief, said Lundberg’s decision not to run wasn’t the determining factor in his making a bid for a council seat.

“I’ve always been interested in it. I’ve always been community-committed, I guess,” he said. “I’d worked for the city since I was a kid, and I still want to be involved, so this seemed like a good way to do that.”

McCarthy, 61, said he had held off on seeking a council seat because his wife, Patricia, was grappling with health issues. But he said her condition has improved as she continues to recuperate.

“When I looked at becoming a policeman years ago, it wasn’t to arrest people. It was to help people,” he said, noting that his experience would be a plus when the council considers public safety issues. “So this is one way I think I can still give back to the city.”

DiMercurio-Sicuranza, 35, said he had also weighed a chance to run for a council seat, and he decided Monday to take out papers after learning of Lundberg’s decision not to run.

“I had decided to look to see what was next in my career,” said DiMercurio-Sicuranza, who has been working with 1623 Studios — formerly Cape Ann TV — and serves on the board of Discover Gloucester. “So when (Lundberg) dropped out, my phone stated blowing up with calls from friends, activist leaders, all showing support.

“l knew I had a short window, and had to get something up (online) fast,” added DiMercurio-Sicuranza, who is active in lobbying support on various issues for the LGBT community, “but before I knew it I had 500 likes on my Facebook page, people were asking about signing my nomination papers, some were talking about collecting signatures. It was all very humbling, really.”

“It’s really that I care about the city so much,” he said. “Gloucester has offered me so much, so now I want to offer something back as well.”

Cannavo could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Run-off in the making?

The addition of three candidates in the at-large council field inches the race toward a potential preliminary election, which would take effect if the field draws nine candidates or more. Similarly, the race for the six elected School Committee seats has risen to 10, and would also force a preliminary run if its field winds up with 12 candidates or more.  

If necessary, a preliminary election would be held Tuesday, Sept. 17, with the general election to follow on Nov. 5. 

It takes 300 verified signatures from registered city voters to earn a spot on the ballot for mayor, but no one has taken out papers to challenge Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken, Candidates need signatures of 150 registered Gloucester voters to run for a councilor at-large or School Committee seat. It takes 75 signatures from residents within a specific ward to run for a City Council ward slot.

Any candidate seeking to run must submit the required signatures to the city clerk’s office by July 30 at 5 p.m. — not 4 p.m. as previously reported.

Ray Lamont can be reached at 978-675-2705 or

Who’s running?

Candidates who, as of Wednesday, July 17, had taken out nomination papers for run for elected office in Gloucester. Candidates must submit papers with signatures from registered city voters to the office of City Clerk Joanne Senos by July 30 at 5 p.m.

*- Denotes incumbent 


*- Sefatia Romeo Theken.

Councilor at-large

(Vote for up to 4)

* Melissa Cox

*Jennifer Holmgren

* Jamie O’Hara

Peter Cannavo

Joe Ciolino

Christopher DiMercurio-Sicuranza

John McCarthy

Council ward seats

Ward 1

*Scott Memhard

Ward 2 

Joseph Giacalone

Barry Pett

Ward 3

*Steve LeBlanc

Ward 4

*Val Gilman

Ward 5

*Sean Nolan

School Committee

(Vote for up to 6)

*Kathleen Clancy

*Joel Favazza

*Jonathan Pope

*Melissa Teixeira Prince

Samantha Verga-Watson

J.D. MacEachern

Ida Shaker

Thomas A. Stein

Laura B. Wiessen

Timothy R. Wood

Source: Gloucester city clerk’s office.

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