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Mayors across the region guided cities through the pandemic. Now many want to keep leading

"I Voted" stickers placed on the table at Hyde Community Center in Newton Highlands during that city's municipal election in 2019.
"I Voted" stickers placed on the table at Hyde Community Center in Newton Highlands during that city's municipal election in 2019.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

Since the pandemic began, the region’s mayors have become the face of local government’s response to the health crisis — rallying outreach, mourning the lives lost, and scrambling to keep their communities economically afloat.

Now, many of Greater Boston’s mayors want to keep going.

Even as the state faces an unprecedented combination of challenges, incumbents and challengers across the region are gearing up to ask voters for their support. The tasks ahead are formidable — including navigating an ongoing recovery from the coronavirus and the economic fallout; grappling with systemic problems of racism and inequity; and addressing soaring housing costs, to name a few.

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Voters in at least 18 cities outside Boston will go to the polls Nov. 2 to cast ballots in municipal races for mayor.

Among the candidates are six women seeking reelection to the highest office in their communities, including four who are the first women to ever serve in those roles.

The region’s races include incumbent mayors Ruthanne Fuller of Newton, Yvonne Spicer of Framingham, and Kassandra Gove of Amesbury. Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, who is running for her fifth four-year term, is also the first woman to hold her city’s top office.

In most of the races, signatures for candidates to appear on their municipal ballots are due back in July or August; in Lynn and Somerville, signatures were required to be returned in June.

Many of the cities with more than two candidates for mayor will hold a preliminary election Sept. 14 to winnow down candidates in each race to two challengers ahead of the Nov. 2 elections. (A few cities have selected other dates to hold preliminary elections if needed.)

The summaries of local campaigns in this report are based on information provided to the Globe by city clerks or elections officials in each community.

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NEWTON Two challengers seek to oust Fuller as she runs for a second term as mayor: former city councilor-at-large Amy Mah Sangiolo and Albert Cecchinelli. The race is a rematch of sorts of the 2017 campaign to succeed then-Mayor Setti Warren: Fuller, Sangiolo, and Cecchinelli were all candidates in a seven-person field that year.

FRAMINGHAM – The city’s mayoral election will see Spicer, who is both Framingham’s first mayor and the first Black woman to serve as a popularly elected mayor in Massachusetts, seek reelection to a new four-year term. (The city’s voters approved a change from town government in 2017.) She is facing a challenge from former selectman Charlie Sisitsky and Carlos Valadares. A fourth candidate, Rick McKenna, said in a statement to the Globe he has suspended his campaign.

AMESBURY Gove, who was elected in 2019 to her first two-year term as mayor, is facing opposition from two local leaders: Republican state Representative James Kelcourse and James Thivierge. (Amesbury became a city in 2012).

SALEM Driscoll won her election as mayor in 2005, and her win streak has included Salem’s municipal elections in 2009, 2013, and 2017. This year, she is facing a crowded field, with challengers including Kevin Darcy, Harrison Schell, George O’Brine, Stacia Kraft, Gilbert Eaton, Stephen Dibble, and Frank Perley III.

Three other incumbent mayors – in Lynn, Somerville, and Newburyport – are stepping aside, leaving the door open to candidates to bring their own styles and goals to meet their constituents’ needs.

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LYNN – Mayor Tom McGee, a former state lawmaker, is not seeking reelection after serving a single four-year term. Four contenders seek to succeed him as mayor: Darren P. Cyr, Keith G. Lee; and Jared C. Nicholson, and Michael A. Satterwhite.

SOMERVILLE Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone, the city’s longest-serving mayor, is also stepping aside after serving almost 18 years in office. Coming forward are four candidates – Mary Cassesso, William Tauro, Katjana Ballantyne, and Wilfred N. Mbah – who vie to serve Somerville’s two-year mayoral term.

NEWBURYPORT – Mayor Donna Holaday, first elected in 2009, will not seek another four-year term leading the city. Charles F. Tontar, Sean R. Reardon, and Warren P. Russo are running to succeed her. Newburyport will hold its preliminary election later than many other local cities, on Sept. 21.

Elsewhere, most mayoral races are shaping up to be contested affairs between incumbents fending off a slew of challengers.

BEVERLY – Mayor Michael Cahill is seeking another two-year term as the city’s chief executive. Challengers in the race include Dana P. Nicholson, Marshall S. Sterman, Michael T. Kennedy, and Esther W. Ngotho. Cahill was first elected in 2013.

BROCKTON – Mayor Robert Sullivan is seeking his second two-year term, following his 2019 election. Sullivan is facing Tina Cardoso, along with Eugenie Kavanagh and Euclides M. Goncalves.

EVERETT – Mayor Carlo DeMaria Jr., along with Gerly Adrien and Fred Capone, are running for the four-year term to lead the city. The preliminary election will be held on Sept. 21. DeMaria was first elected mayor in 2007.

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GLOUCESTER – Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken could see a crowded path to reelection, as fellow candidates John M. Harvey, Jr., Joseph W. Polizza, Jr., Brian Jay Pollard, Robert Russell, Francisco Scalafani, and Gregory P. Verga seek voters’ support for a two-year mayoral term. Romeo Theken was first elected to a full term as mayor in 2015 after serving for nearly a year as interim mayor following the departure of former mayor Carolyn Kirk for a position in the Baker administration.

HAVERHILL – Mayor James Fiorentini is running for reelection to another two-year term as his city’s chief executive against challenger Guy Cooper. Fiorentini, first elected in 2003, is the longest-serving mayor in the city’s history, according to the city of Haverhill’s website.

LAWRENCE – Former Mayor Daniel Rivera, who led the city during the deadly 2018 gas pipeline disaster, resigned from office early this year to join the Baker administration. Acting Mayor Kendrys R. Vasquez, the former City Council president, is seeking the full, four-year term. The challengers include William Lantigua, a former state representative and Rivera’s predecessor as mayor; Vilma Martinez-Dominguez, the city’s community development director; Doris V. Rodriguez; and Brian DePeña.

MARLBOROUGH Mayor Arthur G. Vigeant and David J. Garceau are running for the city’s top job. Vigeant was first elected mayor in 2011, and is seeking another two-year term in office.

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MEDFORD – Mayor Breanna Lungo-Koehn is running for her second, two-year term as mayor. John Falco is challenging her.

In two greater Boston cities – Methuen and Peabody – none have stepped forward to take on the incumbents who now hold the mayor’s office. Nomination papers are due back to city clerks July 27 in both cities.

METHUEN – Mayor Neil Perry is the only candidate to take out nomination papers for the two-year mayoral term, according to the city clerk’s office. Perry was first elected to office in 2019.

PEABODY Mayor Edward A. Bettencourt, Jr., first elected to office in 2011, faces no challengers as he seeks another two-year term.


John Hilliard can be reached at john.hilliard@globe.com.