By Brian Messenger
---- — METHUEN — Mayoral challenger Jennifer Kannan said a telephone survey targeting her campaign circulated across the city last week — an early sign that the race for mayor is heating up.
Kannan said concerned residents called her last Tuesday to report the survey, which featured “slanted” questions about her record as a city councilor as well as questions that cast Mayor Stephen Zanni in a positive light.
“I don’t know if it’s him,” said Kannan when asked if she believed the Zanni campaign was behind the survey. “I guess we’re in an election cycle, right? I stand by my record. I never change my vote and I go in informed.”
On Thursday, Zanni confirmed that his election committee plans to conduct a phone survey. But the mayor said he did not know who was responsible for the calls that Kannan said were made to city residents last week.
“From my understanding, nothing has been done yet,” said Zanni. “Your guess is as good as mine.”
After learning about the survey, Kannan fired back on her campaign Facebook page.
“We’re getting calls about a telephone survey being done on mayor’s race and many voters are offended by the slanted and misleading questions about my record as a city councilor,” reads a post on the Kannan for Mayor page. “So if you get a call tell them your with the right team for Methuen, Team Kannan!”
The municipal election is Nov. 5. In addition to mayor, Methuen residents will elect a new City Council, School Committee and boards overseeing the Methuen Housing Authority, Greater Lawrence Technical School and Nevins Memorial Library.
Zanni, 68, is seeking a second two-year term after being elected mayor in 2011. Zanni previously served as a city councilor-at-large from 2006 to 2011.
Kannan, 48, is currently serving her last year as a councilor-at-large, a seat she’s held since 2008.