There are preliminary elections in just two city wards today, but they’re juicy ones: in Ward 1, incumbent Councilor Zaida Luna faces challengers Jose Claudio, Stephen Daly and Miguel “Mike” Rivas. And in Ward 5, incumbent Clodo Concepcion is being challenged by Michael Belanger and Kyle Burns.
The top two vote-getters in each ward will advance to the general election on Nov. 5.
In Ward 1, my money’s on Luna, who has the power of incumbency, and Claudio, who has the backing of the influential New North Citizens’ Council crew (including state Rep. Cheryl Coakley-Rivera, whose mom, the late Barbara Rivera, led that agency for many years). But I’m interested to see what kind of support Daly, the only candidate not from the North End part of the ward, garners from his very active and engaged neighbors in the downtown area.
(Click here to read Matt Szafranski’s take on the Ward 1 race, at Western Mass. Politics and Insight.)
In Ward 5, I don’t know who will win the second general-election slot; the first I expect to go to Concepcion. (And by the way, am I the only one who views with deep cynicism the decision to rename the Greenleaf Community Center for Concepcion—a move that included a public ceremony with Mayor Domenic Sarno, state Rep. Angelo Puppolo Jr., state Sen. Jim Welch and other pols in attendance—just days before the preliminary election? No, of course I’m not.)
The biggest match on the Valley’s fight card today, meanwhile, is in Holyoke, which has a five-way race for the mayor’s seat, featuring incumbent Alex Morse, Dan Boyle, Jim Santiago, Jeff Stanek and former mayor Danny Szostkiewicz.