4 interesting Massachusetts mayoral races to watch this week

Springfield City Hall pictured in 2019. (Matt O'Brien/AP)
Springfield City Hall pictured in 2019. (Matt O'Brien/AP)

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Is your mayor on the ballot?

In Boston, Mayor Michelle Wu isn’t up for reelection until 2025. However, nearly three dozen other Massachusetts cities have “off-year” mayoral elections tomorrow. Here’s a look at four interesting races to keep an eye on, plus a quick glance at the other competitive races at play:

Springfield: Domenic Sarno, who’s been mayor of Massachusetts’ third largest city since 2007, is fighting hard for reelection against City Councilor Justin Hurst. The incumbent mayor finished first in the September preliminary, but he did so with just less than 50% of the overall vote. Hurst has taken aim at the more centrist Democratic mayor’s handling of Springfield’s scandal-plagued police department and schools. Here’s a deep dive on the issues in the race.

  • Still, the underdog remains Hurst, whose campaign was recently accused of paying people for votes. (Hurst says they were only giving people rides to the polls.) Sarno’s campaign has also poured over $500,000 into his reelection bid this year — quadruple what Hurst spent.

Woburn: After a bitter teacher’s strike last winter, longtime Mayor Scott Galvin finished second in Woburn’s mayoral preliminary, 15 percentage points behind challenger and City Council President Mike Concannon. Galvin argues the city has made great strides during his tenure, but Concannon has the backing of Woburn’s teachers union and the statewide firefighters’ association. Patch has Q&A’s with both candidates (read Galvin’s here and Concannon’s here).

Revere: After former mayor Brian Arrigo stepped down earlier this year to take a state job, the race has been between his ally, acting Mayor Patrick Keefe, and his old rival, former mayor Dan Rizzo. Rizzo narrowly came in first ahead of Keefe in the preliminary, and the two disagree on a lot. The Revere Journal has more on the divide here.

Gloucester: First-term Mayor Greg Verga is up against the city’s former health director Mary Ellen Rose, who he fired earlier this year. And as The Gloucester Times reports, the debates have been tense. The race could determine how Gloucester approaches the new state law requiring MBTA communities to rezone around train stations to allow multi-family housing. (Rose wants to disregard the law, while Verga has signaled he is amenable to the mandate.)

Elsewhere: There are also open mayoral contests tomorrow in Agawam, Haverhill, MarlboroughMelrose and Pittsfield. And in Chicopee, Fitchburg, Medford and Waltham, incumbent mayors are facing serious challenges from sitting city councilors.

  • In Worcester, the state’s second largest city, Mayor Joe Petty is also up for re-election (though Worcester has a modified city manager form of government, so the mayor isn’t super powerful).
  • Other incumbents appear in good position to keep their seats: Mayors in Amesbury, BrocktonQuincyFall River and New Bedford are up for potential reelection after cruising through the preliminary elections. The mayors of Braintree, Somerville, Taunton and Weymouth are facing challengers as well, after no preliminaries were held.

Ubers and Lyfts may be in short supply around Boston today. That’s because hundreds of drivers are planning to descend on the State House to support a measure that would establish a “bill of rights” for ride-hailing service drivers, including the right to unionize. The coalition supporting it advises Greater Boston residents to plan ahead, as there may be longer wait times for ride-share drivers.

  • ICYMI: The coalition — which is led by the SEIU’s local 32BJ chapter — announced last week they have also collected enough signatures to advance a potential 2024 ballot question to allow app drivers to unionize. And yes, that effort is separate from — and in many ways at odds with — the company-backed 2024 ballot campaign that seeks to reclassify gig workers as independent contractors. (Next fall could get a bit confusing.)

Wear bright colors if you’re hiking through Blue Hills Reservation this month. Archery hunting season begins in the park today. Archers will be able to hunt deer in the reservation through Nov. 22, though it’s only allowed Monday through Thursday.

  • The big picture: There are a lot of deer in Blue Hills Reservations — too many, according to state officials. The annual hunting season is part of the state’s effort to manage the population.

P.S.— Still adjusting to the switch back to standard time? Fretting about the next two months of pre-4:30 p.m. sunsets? Our Weekender newsletter shared some advice for navigating the time shift, from mental health tips to exciting winter activities. Read them all here.


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Nik DeCosta-Klipa Newsletter Editor
Nik DeCosta-Klipa is the newsletter editor for WBUR.



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