Thursday, November 03, 2011 • 2:30 PM Comments ()

Election Countdown: The Endorsement Wars

posted by Maureen Turner

With five days until Election Day, mayoral candidate José Tosado has announced that he’s won the endorsement of the Service Employees International Union Local 1199—which claims 6,200 members in Springfield—while reminding voters of the other endorsements he’s racked up during the campaign.

That list includes the Springfield patrol officers’ union and the progressive community group Neighbor to Neighbor. Tosado has also been endorsed by City Councilors Zaida Luna (Ward 1), Melvin Edwards (Ward 3), Amaad Rivera (Ward 6, for now, but running for an at-large seat), and John Lysak (Ward 8). In addition, School Committee member Antonette Pepe—who was also a mayoral candidate until she was eliminated in the Sept. 20 preliminary—has endorsed Tosado, as has state Rep. Ben Swan and former School Committee member Bob McCollum (whose son Ryan is a consultant for the Tosado campaign).

Incumbent Mayor Domenic Sarno, for his part, has won the endorsement of the Springfield Republican—a prominent endorsement although, in this case, not exactly a raving one. The newspaper called Sarno “hard working and dedicated” and praised his “steady, sincere and compassionate” leadership, particularly in the wake of the June 1 tornado. But the editorial pointed to just one concrete accomplishment of Sarno’s: the post-storm creation of the nonprofit Rebuild Springfield, whose success, I would argue, cannot be measured yet; to date, Rebuild Springfield has held community meetings and hired a consultant but hasn’t done any actual rebuilding.

The Republican offered equally vague praise of Tosado, saying the City Council president “has a legacy he can point to with pride,” but offering only one tangible example, his support of ward representation. Tosado, the paper appears to suggest, should get credit for rising high in City Hall as a Latino, but he isn’t quite good enough to be the city’s first Latino mayor. “We predict that Springfield will have a Latino mayor in the not-to [sic]-distant future,” the editorial read. “But for now, Tosado hasn’t made a strong enough case to change leadership in Springfield.”

(An interesting side note: while the Republican has historically, and dismayingly, tended to knee-jerk endorsements of all incumbent candidates—even in cases where just about the only thing recommending re-election is that it would save the cost of printing up new name plates for City Council and School Committee meetings—the newspaper did make an exciting exception this year in Holyoke, endorsing challenger Alex Morse over incumbent Mayor Elaine Pluta.)

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