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Of all the contested district council races on the ballot, the open seat in District 9 confronts voters with the toughest choice. Frankly, none of the seven candidates has run laps around the rest of the field, and many of them seem up to the job of replacing the retiring Mark Ciommo as councilor for Allston and Brighton.

The Globe endorses Craig Cashman, a former Beacon Hill aide well versed in local politics — but with a nod to physical therapist Liz Breadon, who is also a strong candidate. If those two end up in the November final election, voters can be assured a lively campaign and a promising new city councilor.

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Cashman grew up Brighton and worked for 12 years as the district director for one of Allston-Brighton’s state representatives, Michael Moran. That’s the kind of nuts-and-bolts experience that’s perfect preparation for a district councilor, a job that encompasses both constituent services and municipal policy making.

He shows a nuanced understanding of some of the city’s challenges, and a willingness to take potentially unpopular stands. Cashman said he’s against returning to an all-elected school committee, for instance, aware of how that system harmed Boston in the past, and says he’d be willing to vote against a police collective-bargaining agreement if it didn’t include use of body cameras.

Breadon, an immigrant from Northern Ireland, has a background in neighborhood activism. She’s eschewed donations from big developers, lobbyists, and unions, saying the neighborhood needs a councilor with “no allegiances” to the players in the building boom.

Other candidates in the Sept. 24 preliminary election include Jonathan Allen, Brandon Bowser, Daniel J. Daly, Lee Nave Jr., and Amanda Gail Smart.

The district is in the midst of big changes, triggered by the realignment of the Mass Pike and Harvard’s planned expansion in Allston. It needs someone ready to represent it on Day 1, and that’s Cashman.

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Who’s on the ballot?

The following candidates are on the ballot for the Sept. 24 preliminary election, listed in the order they will appear:

■   CRAIG R CASHMAN

■   LEE NAVE JR.

■   AMANDA GAIL SMART

■   LIZ A BREADON

■   DANIEL J DALY

■   JONATHAN LAMAR ALLEN

■   BRANDON DAVID BOWSER