For the first time in almost 20 years, the city of Beverly’s top post will be up for grabs in the November election, opening the door for new faces — as well as familiar ones — to run for mayor.
Mayor Bill Scanlon announced April 22 that almost two decades in office was enough, citing the campaign phase as his reason not to go for another term.
“I’ve been through 10 contested campaigns and I guess I just think that’s enough,” Scanlon said in a recent interview. “I’ve got my health and I’ve got my energy. I’m not wiped out. I’ve always enjoyed the job, but I’ve never really enjoyed the campaigning aspect. I find it somewhat plastic.”
First elected in November 1993, Scanlon, 73, has won nine of the last 10 mayoral races in Beverly. He lost to Thomas Crean in 2001, but regained the office two years later and has served ever since.
Many in Beverly thought Paul Guanci, president of the City Council, would be an obvious contender to succeed Scanlon. But Guanci said now is the time for someone new to step up.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for somebody,” Guanci said. “. . . Now would be a great time for someone who hasn’t been involved, who always thought quietly about it and is capable of running the city of Beverly, to jump in.”
Guanci, 48, was contemplating whether to run, but ultimately decided against running in order to spend time with his three young children and continue to run his family business, Super Sub and Casual Catering, on Cabot Street.
Michael Cahill, 51, who lost to Scanlon by 353 votes in the 2011 race for mayor, said he may run.
Cahill was a state representative from 1993 to 2003 and also served as Beverly’s City Council president from 2010 until 2012.
He is currently the executive director of the Alliance of Massachusetts YMCAs.
“I’m giving it very serious consideration and I’ll make my plans known very soon,” Cahill said. “My passion for my hometown of Beverly that led me to run two years ago still burns.”
And just a few weeks ago, the thought of running for mayor had not crossed Ward 2 Councilor Wes Slate’s mind.
But after Scanlon’s announcement, Slate, 63, reconsidered. He is leaning heavily toward getting his name on the ballot.
“In my career, my life, my family, and having been on the council for six years, it’s a tremendous opportunity and it doesn’t come around that often and I’d be foolish not to considerate it,” Slate said.
Thus far, Euplio “Rick” Marciano, 52, is the only candidate who has taken out nomination papers from City Hall.
A retired Army sergeant, Marciano has never held elected office, despite several attempts.
Marciano said that he does not accept campaign donations and would run his campaign “out-of-pocket.”
“To me, it’s self-initiative,” Marciano said.
“The reason I’m running is so that the present generation can know that someone spoke up for them. I speak the truth. I plan on knocking on doors, of course, and go to the local parks and talk to the individuals there.”
Marciano lost campaigns for Ward 2 city councilor in 2003 and 2005.
He also lost two bids for mayor; one in 2007, the same year he took out papers to run for city councilor at large, and another in 2011.
Crean, 60, the only candidate ever to beat Scanlon, has decided not to enter the race.
“I would love to run because I love the job, but I cleaned up the mess once and I don’t want to do it again,” Crean said.
“I haven’t thought about who would be a good candidate, but I hope it’s somebody new other than even some of the councilors that have been there for a long time. We really need a new face.”
Ward 4 Councilor Scott Houseman, 56, who ran for state representative in 2011 but lost to Jerry Parisella, also is considering entering the race.
Houseman said he is getting calls from residents who are urging him to run.
“It’s time for Beverly to look toward the future and find a hard-working, knowledgeable candidate with a belief in the city, knowledge of the city, and the right skill set to do the job well,” Houseman said.
“I think I qualify on all those grounds.”
To get on the ballot, those who want to run for mayor must have 100 certified signatures submitted to the city clerk by Aug. 2.
The November election may seem far away, Slate said, but it is much closer than one would think.
“Having been involved in campaigns many times, those days and weeks and months can go by very quickly,” Slate said.
“The one thing we can all be assured of is that another person will be putting their hand up to get sworn in, and it won’t be Bill Scanlon.”Terri Ogan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.