Local Government and Politics, News

Bettencourt opponent bows out of Peabody mayor’s race

PEABODY — Mayor Edward Bettencourt Jr. will not have a challenger after all. 

After securing enough signatures to secure a spot on the November ballot, dark horse candidate Jacqueline Conway has withdrawn from the contest.

“It’s a long story, but my back has been getting worse and worse and worse and I just can’t handle a campaign,” she said. “It’s too much for me. The disease is progressing.”

This was the 53-year-old former kindergarten aide’s first run for office. She collects Social Security Disability Insurance after suffering a back injury.

Conway said she didn’t raise any money for the campaign, dealing with the hurt has been a full-time job. 

“I didn’t even make an attempt,” she said.

The one-month campaign was based on a dispute with the Bettencourt administration. She alleged the city unlawfully seized her grandfather’s home on Lynnfield Street for nonpayment of taxes. 

The mayor has said the city always submitted her complaints to the appropriate authorities.

Her decision means Bettencourt will breeze into a fifth term unopposed. 

The mayor did not return a call or text seeking comment. 

There are other contests that will be decided on Tuesday, Nov. 5. At least one new city councilor-at-large and a rookie Ward 1 councilor will be seated. 

Ward 1 Councilor Jon Turco is giving up his seat for a chance at one of five at-large spots that became available when City Councilor-at-Large David Gravel chose 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.

Hochman may have been damaged by reports that he owes more than $50,000 to the Internal Revenue Service for unpaid business taxes. Two liens totaling $50,431 have been placed on his 2,508-square-foot Garrison style home. Liens protect the government’s interest in the real estate, personal property and financial assets of the person who owes the debt.  

Hochman blamed another person for the debt. The Item did not print the other party’s name because they could not be reached.

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