EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

September 18, 2013

Voters choose experience in City Council races

Four veteran councilors make it onto Nov. 5 ballot for three at-large seats

By Mark E. Vogler
mvogler@eagletribune.com

---- — LAWRENCE — The next City Council won’t feature any new faces if last night’s preliminary election results hold up in November.

All six incumbent district councilors — three who are running unopposed — would be re-elected overwhelmingly.

Meanwhile, the three councilor-at-large seats would be filled by the only incumbent in the race and two former city councilors.

Voters yesterday showed a preference for past service by deciding to put all four candidates with previous council experience on the Nov. 5 ballot.

Roger A. Twomey, who seeks a fourth, two-year term, led the field of 12 at-large candidates with 3,745 votes — 83 more than runner-up Nilka I. Alvarez-Rodriguez, who served a decade on the council before stepping down to mount an unsuccessful run at mayor four years ago.

Former City Councilor Modesto Maldonado, who served one two-year term on the council after getting elected in 2009 to the District C Arlington Neighborhood seat, received 2,672 votes to finish a distant third. Jorge A. Gonzalez, a former two-term incumbent who lost his seat to Maldonado, finished 243 votes behind him.

Maria D. De La Cruz, an unemployed school teacher, and local businesswoman Wendy Raquelina Luzon grabbed the final two spots on the ballot, finishing with 1,897 and 1,610 votes respectively.

Finishing less than hundred votes out of the sixth and final ballot spot were outgoing Lawrence School Committee member Francisco Surillo (1,540) and Denise L. Perrault (1,512), a member of the Greater Lawrence Technical School Committee.

The November election will feature three at-large candidates who once represented District C — the city’s poorest neighborhood: Alvarez-Rodriguez, Maldonado and Gonzalez.

Yesterday’s six district city councilor races were essentially dry runs for the November general election. District C incumbent Kendrys Vasquez, District B incumbent Estela Reyes and District F incumbent Marc Laplante are on the ballot unchallenged. Each of the candidates received close to 97 percent of the votes cast.

Meanwhile, District A incumbent Sandy Almonte received 200 more votes more than challenger Rosa Pina, winning by a 55 percent margin.

Councilor Oneida Aquino got 510 more votes than Marta Rentas in their District D contest to win by 68 percent.

District E incumbent Eileen O’Connor Bernal won her preliminary election race by 1,113 votes over Kathleen Runge. With no more than two candidates for any of the six seats. That was a 76 percent margin of victory.

Close to 33 percent of the registered voters participated in yesterday’s election.