By Brian Messenger
---- — METHUEN — It’s officially a two-candidate race for mayor.
Mayor Stephen Zanni will face off against challenger Jennifer Kannan in the Nov. 5 municipal election. There will be no preliminary election this fall for any of the races on the ballot.
Potential candidates for mayor, City Council, School Committee and other local offices had until 5 p.m. yesterday to return nomination papers. In all, 30 residents met the deadline and had their voter signatures certified by the City Clerk’s office, making their candidacies official.
There will be contested races for mayor, city councilor-at-large, East, Central and West district city council, School Committee and the Methuen Housing Authority board. Candidates for the Greater Lawrence Technical School Committee and Nevins Memorial Library Board of Trustees will run unopposed.
The race for three councilor-at-large seats will be decided from among five candidates: incumbent Joyce Campagnone and challengers Sharon Birchall, Daniel Grayton, James Jajuga and Robert LeBlanc.
Councilor-at-large Michael Condon and resident Jean Imholt pulled nomination papers but did not return them by the deadline and their names will not be on the ballot.
There are two council seats apiece in the city’s East, West and Central districts. Each race will feature three candidates.
The East District candidates are incumbents Thomas Ciulla and Ron Marsan and challenger Thomas Firth. In the Central District, incumbents Jamie Atkinson and Lisa Ferry will run alongside challenger Jack Cronin.
In the West District, incumbent Sean Fountain will run for reelection along with challengers George Kazanjian and Ken Willette Jr.
Current Methuen School Committeeman Evan Chaison, who will be term-limited out at year’s end, had planned to run for West District council but did not return nomination papers before yesterday’s deadline.
Term limits will also force both Councilor-at-large Kannan and West District Councilor Jeanne Pappalardo off the City Council.
Elected officials in Methuen are limited to serving three consecutive two-year terms under the city charter. Candidates are eligible to run again for the same office after sitting out one term.
There are six seats up for grabs on the School Committee and eight candidates will appear on the ballot: incumbents Lynne Hajjar Kumm, Mary Jean Fawcett and Robert Vogler and challengers Richard Beshara, Dennis DJ Deeb, Jana DiNatale, Thomas Grondine and Bryan Sweet.
Residents Jonathan Trunfio, Richard Philbrick, Kevin LeBourdais, and Jeri-an Batal pulled papers but did not return them.
Also on the ballot this fall are races for the Greater Lawrence Technical School Committee, Nevins Memorial Library Board of Trustees and the Methuen Housing Authority board. Each race has two seats up for election.
Barbara Grondine is the only candidate to pull papers for the technical school committee. Deeb also pulled papers but did not return them. Josephine Napolitano and Arthur Nicholson will run unopposed for the library board. At the Methuen Housing Authority, Kenneth Henrick, Frank Gallo and Richard True will compete for the two open seats.
Only Zanni, Kannan and Morgan Drive resident Joseph Leone pulled nomination papers for mayor. But last week, Leone told The Eagle-Tribune he will not run for office and instead endorsed Zanni’s bid for a second two-year term.