Let the fun begin.
The final players in this spring’s town election seem to be in place and unless something changes soon, there will be five running for the Board of Selectmen and just a two-person race for School Committee.
And then of course there’s the small matter of a ballot question increasing taxes to pay for the Dracut High renovation project.
The selectmen’s race will be a hard one to handicap.
Bob Cox and John Zimini are the two incumbents and have in the past been about the same in terms of vote-getting strength. In the last election in 2008 they finished 94 votes apart and way ahead of Ted Kosiavelon, who finished third with a respectable 1,632 votes.
But that was then.
That was before the battle of Louisburg Square. It was before the 2010 election when the Zimini-supported candidate, Brian Bond, attacked the rest of the board.
It was at a time when members sat normal distances from each other on Tuesday night.
With supporters of the two incumbents at odds with each other, anything can happen. In 2008 Cox and Zimini likely shared many of the same votes, and that could still happen.
Voters on May 2 could just say, hey, I don’t care if they fight once and a while, the town is still run well, or they could go for change.
And they do have options.
Kosiavelon is back in the race, and has to be looked at as a strong challenger. With so many candidates in the race, if he holds onto all of his 1,632 votes from his last run, he will be in the conversation.
So will Pete Wilde. Although his 2010 race didn’t end well, he was also in a campaign with four very strong vote-getters. In fact, fourth-place finisher Brian Bond got 1,611 votes, less than 500 votes out of first place.
Tony Archinski is new to politics, but not new to the town.
He had a long, successful career as a police officer in town and is likely to be well-financed and organized.
Will the town want a former Dracut police officer on the board? We will find out soon.
The school-board race could be an gathering of old friends and enemies.
Matthew Sheehan, the current chairman of the board, has the support of the colleagues Mike Miles and Bonnie Elie, but not Mike McNamara and Ron Mercier.
Sheehan came from nowhere to defeat longtime politico DJ Deeb in 2008, and has been on the board through some of the toughest times, an era that saw the departure of Superintendent Mullin, the return of former superintendent Espindle for an interim period and the hiring of Stacy Scott, the current superintendent.
Former committee member May Paquette will be Sheehan’s only challenger, after two other candidates dropped out of the race.
Paquette lost her seat on the board to Miles four years ago, and an attempted return in 2010 fell 500 votes short in a race that included Miles and McNamara.
Paquette now has the support of McNamara, along with Deeb, the person Sheehan replaced on the board.
It was the Deeb-led school board that let Espindle go, starting the chain of events that saw three superintendents in four years.
The other big draw on the ballot will be the debt exemption to pay for the renovation of Dracut High School.
The school project is being promoted by a citizens’ group known as “Friends of a new Dracut high.”
The group will be conducting an informational campaign throughout the election in an attempt to show voters the advantages of the project.
It will be interesting to see how candidates position themselves on this one.
Warren Shaw is a former Dracut selectman who hosts a popular Saturday morning radio show on WCAP-AM from 6 to 10.