PEABODY — For the first time in years many incumbents will face challengers in the fall election.
While two ward councilors and three School Committee members will get a free ride, there are contests for every other post.
The primary, set for Tuesday, Sept. 17, followed by the final election on Tuesday, Nov. 5, will see at least one new city councilor-at-large and a rookie Ward 1 councilor.
Among the most closely-watched fights will be the race for city councilor-at-large. Ward 1 Councilor Jon Turco is giving up his seat for a chance at one of five spots that became available when City Councilor-at-Large David Gravel decided not to seek re-election.
The at-large incumbents seeking reelection include Ryan Melville, Thomas Rossignoll, Thomas Gould and Anne Manning Martin. In addition to Turco, School Committeeman Jarrod Hochman and retired Peabody Police Capt. John DeRosa Jr. are vying for an at-large spot.
Mayor Edward Bettencourt Jr. will be opposed by Jacqueline Conway. But political observers say the four-term chief executive is a shoo-in for reelection.
The other race expected to draw attention is in Ward 2. Lynn Street resident Jaclyn Corriveau is challenging three-term incumbent Peter McGinn.
Dick Jarvis, co-host of “You Make The Call” on the Peabody Access TV, said voters know Corriveau’s name because she has managed campaigns and ran for a seat on Beacon Hill.
“The race pits a classic political insider against an activist,” he said. “I don’t know how that race will go.”
The open seat in Ward 1 will feature a battle between Craig Welton and perennial candidate Russell Donovan.
Welton is chief development officer at Northeast Arc, a North Shore nonprofit. He had spent a decade at Best Buddies International, a charity that provides assistance to people with challenges.
Donovan, a former candidate for mayor, can be seen regularly at City Council meetings where he often voices his opposition to development projects.
In Ward 6, incumbent Mark O’Neill faces opposition from Keith Doucette, the man behind the Moving Peabody Forward blog.
Ward 3 Councilor James Moustsoulas and Ward 5 Councilor Joel Saslaw are running unopposed.
Ward 4 Councilor Edward Charest faces competition from John Salisbury-Rowswell.
Three seats for a six-year term for Library Trustee are up for grabs. Incumbents Stephanie Najjar and Donald McAllister will face Peter Bakula and Stephanie Dallaire.
Morgan Yeo will not face any competition for a two-year post for Library Trustee.
In the race for Municipal Light Commission, Raymond Melvin is challenging incumbent Charles Bonfanti for a six-year term.
“Many of the races are hard to call, some people in the city are happy with the way things are and some are not,” said Jarvis. “But the political system works better when incumbents have opponents.”