The fights to watch outside of Boston’s City Hall

Boston City Hall
Boston City Hall. Oct. 9, 2021. (Photo by Mild Laohapoonrungsee/BU News Service)

By Mads Williams
Boston University News Service

While national attention is focused on the mayoral race in Boston, communities all over Massachusetts are hitting the polls for their own races on Nov. 2. Below is an overview of some of the races that could change the political future of Massachusetts. 


Besides the showdown between Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George, Boston is also holding the general election for City Council this November. All thirteen seats – one for each district and four at-large seats – are up for grabs. 

Both Essaibi George and Wu are currently at-large city councilors. With both running for mayor, only two of the eight candidates running for the council are incumbents. The top four candidates will receive the four seats, meaning incumbents Michael Flaherty and Julia Mejia each will have to beat at least four of the other candidates to retain their seats. 

The District 6 election, which features no incumbent, was in the news earlier in the month after candidate Mary Tamer’s campaign distributed a flyer that printed a photo of Tamer, who is Arab American but has lighter skin than her rival, in color, while Kendra Hicks, who is Black, was printed in black-and-white. The text on the center of the flyer reads, “There are stark differences between the candidates for District 6 City Council.” ‘Stark differences’ was printed in bold. 

Boston will also be voting on three ballot questions, but only Question 1 is binding, meaning it will go into effect if it wins. If Question 1 passes, it will allow the City Council to veto and amend the mayor’s budget, and it will create an office of participatory budgeting, which will allow Boston residents to give input on city spending by 2024. 

Questions 2 and 3, if passed, will still need approval from the City Council, mayor and governor to go into effect, but the results from tomorrow will give representatives an idea of where their constituents stand. Question 2 asks if a new Eversource electric substation should be built on Condor Street in East Boston rather than in an alternative location at Logan Airport. Question 3 asks if Boston should instate an election for the school committee rather than having its members be appointed by the mayor. 

Polls are open in Boston from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 2. 


Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken is up for reelection only four months after an outside investigator hired by the city found she violated city’s code of conduct by using “profane language” in the workplace, according to the press release her office released in June. While she defeated four of her competitors in the primary, her fifth, City Councilor Greg Varga, beat her by over 1,300 votes according to city records. Romeo Theken is supported by the Massachusetts Majority PAC, a super PAC with ties to Governor Charlie Baker. 

Besides the mayoral race, Gloucester also has races for at-large councilors, ward councilors, and the School Committee. However, due to a recent plan to re-precinct the city, Tracy O’Neil, a candidate for Councilor of Ward 2, may not be allowed to serve as councilor if elected. The Ward 2 incumbent, Barry Pett, is the only other candidate in the race and voted to approve and accept the plan, according to the Gloucester Times. Pett told the Times that the plan only confirmed the state and federal census and that he would be disappointed to run without a contender. 

Polls are open in Gloucester from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m on Nov. 2.  


Everett Mayor Carlo DeMario, who is up for reelection, is also receiving support from the Baker-affiliated super PAC in his race against City Councilor Fred Capone. Unlike Romeo Theken in Gloucester, DeMario led his preliminary election with 45.2% of the vote, according to the Everett Independent. The race is still contentious; Councilor-at-Large Gerly Adrien, who won 23.5% of the vote, was eliminated but endorsed Capone earlier in the month. 

Everett residents can also vote in races for councilor at-large, School Committee at-large, councilor, and School Committee. Polls are open in Everett from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m on Nov. 2. 


Gardner Mayor Michael Nicholson is running against Peter Sargent, a retired attorney and the only person to run against Nicholson. Sargent is not affiliated with any political party and is the only member of his committee, according to Sargent’s Statement of Organization Candidate’s Committee forms. He entered the race to preserve the historic buildings and natural resources in Gardner, according to a statement he provided to the Gardner News.

Nicholson is another incumbent supported by the Baker-affiliated super PAC. He won the office in a special election in July 2020 while he was still completing law school at Suffolk university. As the Gardner mayor serves as chair of the school committee, Nicholson was responsible for Gardner’s return to in-person education, a step they only took after starting the school year virtually to monitor how other towns fared in their own re-opening. 

Besides the mayoral election, Gardner is also voting for Councillor at Large, Ward Councillors, and the School Committee. Polls are open in Gardner from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m on Nov. 2. 


Out of all of the candidates supported by Massachusetts Majority PAC, Donna Colorio, a candidate challenging the incumbent for Mayor of Worcester, received the most support, over $15,000 in direct mail and digital advertising. Colorio was elected to Worcester City Council in 2019 after receiving $38,000 in direct mail advertising from the super PAC. Prior to her position on the City Council, Colorio was an at-large representative on the Worcester Public Schools board for two years and the Worcester School committee for two years, losing both positions after failing to win reelection. 

Colorio is running against incumbent Mayor Joseph Petty, the first ever Worcester mayor to serve five consecutive two-year terms. Petty was first elected to Worcester City Council in 1997, meaning that if he wins reelection, he will be serving his 26th year on the City Council by the next election in 2023. A career democrat, he endorsed Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign in 2020.

Worcester is also voting on the At-Large City Council, all five district’s City Council seats, and the School Committee. Polls are open in Worcester from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 2.


Beverly Mayor Mike Cahill is running against his first challenger since 2015, Dr. Esther Ngotho, who’s a friend of Cahill’s and the first person of color to ever run for mayor in Beverly. Ngotho moved to the United States in 2001 after fleeing violence in Kenya. Cahill, born in Beverly, appointed Ngotho to the Beverly Human Rights Committee at its inception in 2016. While Ngotho received under half the votes that Cahill did in the primary, the turnout for the primary was the lowest in recent history at only 7.1%, so it is unclear who will prevail in the general election. Beverly is also voting for At-Large City Council, City Council, and School Committee. 

Polls are open in Beverly from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 2.


Somerville is facing the first mayoral election in 18 years without incumbent Mayor Joseph Curtatone on the ballot. He will finish his ninth term as mayor and is not seeking another this election cycle. Katjana Ballantyne and Will Mbah are running to replace him. Somerville is also voting for councilor at-Large, councilors for each ward, and for the School Committee.

Polls are open in Somerville from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m on Nov. 2.

A complete list of elections held on Nov. 2 this year can be found on Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin’s website

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