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Your guide to Newton’s upcoming City Council election

Newton voters will go to the polls Nov. 5 to cast their ballots for the largest pool of candidates to run for City Council in a generation, as two dozen candidates run in nine contested races for at-large and local ward seats.

This year’s City Council election is roiled by a broad debate over the need for housing and the impact of development. Candidates elected to the council will have a hand in shaping the city’s future as deliberations on zoning reform are expected to begin next year.

Councilors are in the midst of reviewing two major mixed-use developments — a 524-unit proposal at the Riverside MBTA station and an 800-unit proposal at the corner of Needham and Oak streets in Upper Falls. On Sept. 19, city solicitor Alissa Ocasio Giuliani advised city councilors that they should not respond to a Globe reporter’s questions on whether they supported or opposed those projects.

A copy of Ocasio Giuliani’s written opinion is here, and a Globe report on the issue is here.


In the citywide races, Newton voters will choose among 21 candidates for 16 open at-large councilor seats on the City Council. Each of the city’s eight wards is represented by a pair of at-large councilors who are elected by citywide vote.

In the contested at-large races, Ward 2 challengers Jennifer Bentley and Tarik Lucas will face councilors-at-large Jake Auchincloss and Susan Albright.

Ward 3 challenger Pamela Wright seeks to replace one of the ward’s two incumbents: Andrea Kelley and James Cote.

Former city alderman Paul Coletti is running for a Ward 5 at-large seat against incumbent councilors Andreae Downs and Deborah Crossley.

And in Ward 6, challenger Alicia Bowman campaigns to replace either Greg Schwartz or Victoria Danberg, the ward’s incumbent at-large councilors.


And more change could come to the Newton City Council, thanks to national politics: As US Representative Joseph Kennedy III challenges Senator Edward Markey, Grossman and Auchincloss are among the candidates who have declared campaigns to fill Kennedy’s House seat.

Every ward in Newton is also represented by a councilor elected solely by ward residents.

Voters in Ward 1 (Nonantum and Newton Corner), Ward 2 (which spans Newtonville and parts of West Newton and Newton Centre), Ward 3 (West Newton), Ward 5 (Waban and Upper Falls), and Ward 6 (Newton Centre and Newton Highlands) will decide contested races for their local representatives to the council.

Three current local ward councilors — Ward 3’s Barbara Brousal-Glaser, Ward 5’s John B. Rice, and Ward 8’s Cheryl Lappin — are not seeking reelection.

The most contested race may be for Rice’s successor. Bill Humphrey and Kathryn Winters are on the Nov. 5 ballot after becoming the top two finishers in a September preliminary election. Humphrey had the most votes in that election, with 491 votes, while Winters had 484.

The other candidate in that election — Rena Getz — came within 50 votes of Winters, with 437 votes. Getz will not appear on the ballot, but has launched a write-in campaign for the seat.

The other local races include: Allan L. Ciccone Sr. running to replace Ward 1 Councilor Maria Scibelli Greenberg; Bryan Barash seeking to replace Ward 2 Councilor Emily Norton; and Lisa Gordon challenging Ward 6 Councilor Brenda Noel.


In Ward 3, two challengers vie to succeed Brousal-Glaser: Julia Malakie and Carolina Ventura.

Find out more about the candidates here: Ward 1, Ward 2, Ward 3, Ward 4, Ward 5, Ward 6, Ward 7, Ward 8.

The city’s elections website offers voters information about polling places and an address lookup tool if they are unsure about where to vote.

John Hilliard can be reached at