This election year is like no other that Donna MacDonald remembers. Usually, by this time, she’s gotten scores of inquiries about deadline filing dates and what is required to have one’s name appear on the ballot.
This year it’s been silent; “Zilch,” says the city’s director of the Board of Canvassers.
And if it’s not inquiries, then MacDonald has heard rumors and has a good idea of who’s running and who’s not. There’s none of that this year either … well, almost.
To date the Democrats don’t have a mayoral candidate to oppose incumbent Republican Scott Avedisian. Unless they come up with one, and unless someone steps forward as an independent by June 25 at 4 p.m., Avedisian will go unchallenged. Two years ago, when Warwick Democrats failed to nominate Jack Kirby, Kirby ran as an independent and there was no Democratic candidate.
But Avedisian hasn’t confirmed whether he’ll seek another term, although at this late date it seems unlikely he would run for any other office. When asked last week, the mayor said he might just wait and file without a whole lot of hoopla. But he didn’t say if he was going to file, leaving everything up in the air.
Robert Farrell, chair of the Democratic City Committee, said on Friday that he knew of no one looking to run for mayor under the Democratic banner, although, he ventured, if Avedisian wasn’t to run, there would be an instant “15 candidates.”
Farrell is under the assumption the city’s eight Democratic incumbent council members will run for re-election, and while he has heard some talk of a candidate to challenge the council’s single Republican, Steve Colantuono in Ward 1, he didn’t say who that was.
There appears to be a paucity of contests across the local ballot.
Michael Penta, Republican City Committee chairman, who ran against Ward 4 Councilman Joseph Solomon two years ago, said yesterday that, “right now we don’t have many candidates.”
Colantuono is the only Republican candidate he felt certain about, other than the mayor, who he expects will seek re-election. He thought there could be other Republican candidates if any of the incumbent Democrats on the City Council choose not to seek re-election, but then again, he didn’t have names.
And he hasn’t heard of any challengers for mayor.
“It seems nobody wants to run against him,” Penta said.
And what about Penta running for Ward 4 again?
“I’ve got too much going on … I’ve got my hands full,” Penta said.
Part of what’s kept Penta busy is the City Committee. The committee has endorsed Avedisian, even though he hasn’t declared as yet, and Colantuono, even though he is not a citywide candidate. The choices weren’t as clear-cut when it came to governor. The committee was almost evenly split between endorsing Ken Block and Allan Fung. The vote came out for Fung 13-11.
In terms of local Senate and House seats, Penta hasn’t heard of any Republican candidates running. He hasn’t even heard whether the city’s only GOP legislator, Rep. Joseph Trillo, is running, or whether he faces a contest. Trillo ran uncontested in 2012.
The one local seat that has opened up is that held by Representative Frank Ferri, who is running for lieutenant governor. Joseph Solomon Jr. has declared as a Democratic candidate for the seat. No one else has stepped forward.
“I’m hoping to get some people to come forward,” said Penta.
Then, after a pause, he added, “The Democratic Party is on the bench and they’re going to stay there.”