NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Election Connection

September 17, 2013

Controversy on eve of mayoral election

(Continued)

Sullivan did attend the session on the steps, and called the flier and phone calls a “distraction” at a time he wanted to be meeting with voters.

Sullivan said, “The Sullivan family does not practice campaigning by conducting mailings such as the one this past weekend. This issue has nothing to do with the Sullivan campaign.”

He added, “I do not believe this issue is worthy of a news conference. I want to get back to talking about what is really important, such as how did our school system fall in the state rankings from No. 16 to No. 67 in two years (according to Boston magazine) and how we are going to save taxpayers money and improve the public services they are paying for.”

Members of the Committee for an Open Waterfront, which has been a vocal critic of the NRA’s plans and the mayor’s position, denied any involvement in the calls and fliers.

Speculation has run high in the city over who sent the fliers and robocalls. Observers of City Hall did not publicly share insights on who could have mounted the anonymous campaign.

Though there are elections today in wards 2 and 4, the mayoral primary has received the significant amount of attention.

A forum last week, for instance, at the Firehouse Center for the Arts drew a throng that overflowed the 192-seat venue.

Recently filings show that Holday has raised about $22,800 for her campaign, while Sullivan has generated $5,520 and Earls $4,050.

The primary campaign has highlighted a period in this city that is characterized by significant involvement in local politics.

The community’s six wards are being contested this year — last year all ward councilors ran unopposed —and there are 10 candidates for five at-large councilor seats.

For the first time in city history, the mayor’s term will be for four years. It will pay $98,000 per year, with $3,000 in expense money.

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