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Cambridge Municipal Election Season Officially Kicks Off With 23 Candidates Declaring

Nineteen Cambridge City Council and four School Committee candidates have already taken out nomination papers.
Nineteen Cambridge City Council and four School Committee candidates have already taken out nomination papers. By Julian J. Giordano
By Julian J. Giordano, Crimson Staff Writer

Last week marked the official start of Cambridge’s municipal elections, with 19 City Council candidates and four School Committee candidates taking out nomination papers as of Thursday.

All nine council seats and at least two of the six elected school committee members are up for election this year. Both positions hold two-year terms and are elected in odd-numbered years. Candidates will have until July 31 to submit between 50 and 100 signatures of registered Cantabrigian voters to qualify as candidates for the November 7 election.

Six incumbent city councilors have decided to seek reelection. Burhan Azeem, Marc C. McGovern, and Paul F. Toner made announcements in June. Although they have yet to formally announce, Cambridge Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui, Councilor Patricia M. Nolan ’80, and Councilor E. Denise Simmons also took out papers last week.

The three remaining councilors have declined to seek reelection. Dennis J. Carlone and Alanna M. Mallon declared their intentions last month, and Quinton Y. Zondervan announced he would not run for a fourth term on Sunday.

Of the 13 council challengers that also took out papers last week, six have run in past elections. Bartender Joe McGuirk ran unsuccessfully in 2021, as did lifelong Cantabrigian Frantz Pierre. Longtime activist James M. Williamson III staged campaigns in 2009, 2011, 2013, and 2015; and Harvard Extension School math lecturer and curator of the Cambridge Civic Journal Robert Winters last sought office in 1993 and 1995. Gregg J. Moree has run for city council in every election since 2007 and will now make his eighth bid for a seat.

Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler served one term on the council before losing his reelection bid in 2021. He was the first to enter the race when he launched his candidacy last month.

Two of the challengers work for current councilors: Daniel J. Totten is an aide to Zondervan, and Adrienne Klein is Siddiqui’s director of constituent services.

One of the challengers, Ayah Al-Zubi ’23, is a 21-year-old recent Harvard graduate. In a Monday press release her campaign shared that she has already received Zondervan’s endorsement.

Other challengers include Joan Pickett, Vernon Walker, Catherine Zusy, and current School Committee member Ayesha M. Wilson.

Harvard Medical School instructor Peter Hsu has created a political committee to run for Cambridge City Council, according to a filing with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance, though he has yet to publicly announce his candidacy.

Eugenia B. Schraa ’04, Andrew King, and Rachel Weinstein picked up nomination papers for the School Committee last week. The committee will be losing two of its members: Wilson, who is running instead for city council, and Fred Fantini, its longest-serving member.

Cambridge City Councilors and School Committee Members are elected at-large every two years through the proportional representation voting system, a version of ranked-choice voting.

Correction: July 12, 2023

A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to Joe McGuirk as a former bartender. In fact, McGuirk still bartends.

—Staff writer Julian J. Giordano can be reached at julian.giordano@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @jjgiordano1.

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