FITCHBURG — The city will be going through what’s considered to be a very busy mayoral election this year with the race now confirmed at four contenders. And the City Council is no different with the 10th candidate joining the race for five councilor-at-large seats shortly before the deadline Tuesday.
The number of challengers for the mayoral race ensures the city will now need to hold a preliminary election on Sept. 26, according to the Fitchburg City Clerk’s office.
The preliminary election will bring the number of contenders in the race for mayor from four to two. Assistant City Clerk Elizabeth McNiff said that, although she wasn’t here for the last one, she said this year’s election certainly is busier than many expected.
“That’s a bit of a surprise,” she said about the total number of people running for the variety of elected positions in city government. “It is a bit of a shock.”
Mayor Stephen DiNatale will be challenged by retired Fitchburg police officer Stanley Young, City Councilor-at-Large Samantha Squailia and School Committee member Maritza Knight.
If victorious, this will be DiNatale’s fourth term as mayor. Prior to serving as mayor, he had been a Massachusetts state representative for nine years, a Fitchburg School Committee member for five years, and had spent three years as a Fitchburg councilor-at-large. He is currently expected to return from medical leave by Aug. 21.
Currently serving as acting mayor until DiNatale returns, City Council president Anthony Zarrella is now running for re-election along with his fellow Councilors-at-Large Marcus DiNatale, Amy Green, and Sally Cragin.
School Committee member Thomas Hughes and Fitchburg Airport Commissioner Elizabeth Walsh have also entered the city councilor-at-large race along with Goodfellow Drive resident James McNamera, Crescent Heights resident Jessica Jacobson, River Street resident Derek Strazdas, and Highland Road resident Miranda Tozier-Robbins.
On Election Day, the 10 candidates will be vying for five city-councilor-at-large seats.
Ward 3 City Councilor Andrew Couture is being challenged by Fairview Street resident Joseph Bowen, Jr. and Ward 5 City Councilor Marisa Fleming is being challenged by Klondike Road resident Robert Talbot.
School Committee member James Walsh is the only incumbent of the four total running for three spots on the School Committee. Also running for School Committee is Water Street resident Jean Raabe, Old Deerfield Road resident Debra Jeffries and East Street resident Christopher Batinsey.
Last day to register to vote in the preliminary election is Sept. 16. The city clerk posts the list of official candidates Wednesday, Aug. 23.