It’s spring, when a young, or not-so-young, politician’s fancy turns to the November election. Around the state and the Valley, nomination papers to run for municipal office are ready, or will be soon; let the races begin.
In Springfield, the election season officially kicked off last week, when the Election Office made nomination papers available to would-be candidates. Unofficially, speculation about who may or may not run has been circulating much longer, with some interesting names in the mix.
Among them: former City Council Jose Tosado, who left the Council in 2011 to run for mayor, losing to incumbent Domenic Sarno. Tosado told the Advocate he’s “giving serious consideration” to running for an at-large seat, “much to my own amazement.”
Tosado certainly sounds serious, offering this rather campaign speech-like statement: “I have always considered myself to be a thoughtful public official and one who not only actually listens to the residents of Springfield but also considers the social/economic ramifications of public policy decisions. With the real possibility of a casino in Springfield and all the city elected officials gushing and foaming at the month at possible revenues, we need leadership that focuses on addressing and holding casino operators responsible and responsive to develop safeguards and interventions for any maladaptive social outcomes.”
If Tosado does run, he’ll be a strong candidate. Springfield voters have a history of returning former councilors to office; Bud Williams, for instance, was re-elected after an unsuccessful 2009 mayoral campaign. And his lackluster results in the 2011 mayoral race notwithstanding (28 percent of the vote to Sarno’s 72 ), Tosado was a popular city councilor, turning up at or near the top of the election results during his five terms.
The field for the Council’s five at-large seats could be a crowded one, with multiple challengers expected to jump into the race. So far, only one has formally announced: Ernesto Cruz, who was, interestingly, campaign manager for Tosado’s 2011 mayoral bid. In addition, there’s speculation that Ward 2 Councilor Mike Fenton will run for an at-large seat this year—a move that would put him in direct competition with his chief rival on the Council, President Jimmy Ferrera, as well as Williams, a close ally of Ferrera’s. Ferrera and Williams finished in fourth and fifth place, respectively, in the at-large race in 2011, which suggests they could be the most vulnerable incumbents in November.
For now, Fenton is mum about his plans. “I love the city of Springfield and I want to continue to represent her in government,” he told the Advocate last week. “I haven’t ruled out any options.”
Contested races are predicted in several of the city’s eight wards as well, including Ward 1, where incumbent Zaida Luna may face multiple challengers, and Ward 8, where Orlando Ramos, who lost close races to incumbent John Lysak in 2011 and 2009, is expected to run again. At deadline, Ramos had not responded to a message asking about his plans.•