On Springfield

Ward 1 Candidate Forum Tonight

Ward 1 is seeing an especially lively election season this year, with incumbent City Councilor Zaida Luna facing three challengers: Jose Claudio and Miguel Rivas, both politically active residents of the North End, and Stephen Daly, who works for the city school system and is active in the Armoury-Quadrangle Civic Association.

The four will square off in a preliminary election next Tuesday, with the top two finishers moving to the Nov. 5 general election. That same day, incumbent School Committee member Norman Roldan, who represents Wards 1 and 3, will face challenger Rosa Perez.

Luna has been the Ward 1 councilor since the city adopted the ward representation system with the 2009 election. She hasn’t been the highest-profile or most vocal of councilors—one notable exception being her recent efforts to shut down a problem-plagued package store in the neighborhood—which might leave her vulnerable to her challengers, with Claudio, who has perhaps the longest track record and deepest connections in the ward, likely the biggest threat. (His backers include the ward's state rep, Cheryl Coakley-Rivera.)

But making political predictions about Ward 1 can be a crap shoot; while the neighborhood can be home to some pretty fierce, often behind-the-scenes political battles, it’s historically seen very low voter turn-out rates, meaning a small group of people can decide the fate of the entire ward. Still, Matt Szafranski of Western Mass Politics and Insights suggests, in an analysis of the race, “the sheer volume of candidates each with their own partisans will have to kick up turnout at least a bit.”

Interested voters will have the chance to meet the Ward 1 candidates tonight, at a meeting of the Armoury Quadrangle Civic Association. The meeting takes place at 7 p.m. at the Classical High Condos at 235 State St. Parking is available at the Quadrangle parking lot.

© 2014 The Valley Advocate