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August 4, 2013

Condon to retire from Methuen politics

Work conflict keeps Chaisson from council race, hopes to be back in 2015 election

METHUEN — City Councilor-at-large Michael Condon had collected all the voter signatures he needed to get his name on the November ballot, but still hadn’t returned his nomination papers to the City Clerk’s office.

With the deadline to return papers looming, Condon’s wife Lee-Ann suspected something was up. So she pressed the issue one recent morning over a cup of coffee and told her husband, “You’re not running.”

“I looked at her and said, ‘You’re right. I’m not running,” said Condon, 58, owner of The Sweetheart Inn on Myrtle Street. “She could see that I didn’t have the fire in my belly.”

Condon said he will retire from Methuen politics when his council term ends in December. He will be joined by School Committeeman Evan Chaisson, 30, who intended to run for West District council this fall but will be forced to take a hiatus from the local political scene due to a work schedule conflict. Chaisson say’s he’ll be back in time for the 2015 election.

“I’m still going to fight for what I believe in,” said Chaisson.

The departure of Condon and Chaisson from the council race opens up the field for other candidates. In all, 14 residents are vying for nine seats. Councilors serve two-year terms and are limited to three consecutive terms under the city charter.

With Condon no seeking reelection, the race for three councilor-at-large seats will be decided among five candidates: incumbent Joyce Campagnone and challengers Sharon Birchall, Daniel Grayton, James Jajuga and Robert LeBlanc.

There are two council seats apiece in the city’s East, West and Central districts. Each race will feature three candidates. In the West District, incumbent Sean Fountain will run for reelection along with challengers George Kazanjian and Ken Willette Jr. Last week, Chaisson was quick to endorse both Fountain and Willette.

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