ACUSHNET – There seems to be little political interest in the April 2, 2018 annual town election. The majority of current office holders are running for re-election unopposed, and there are no candidates in sight for two vacant seats on the local school committee.
As of Monday’s deadline for returning nomination papers to the Town Clerk for certification of voter signatures, no one had filed the required 31 signatures to get on the ballot for a three-year vacancy on the Acushnet School Committee, or the one-year unexpired term on the school board.
Unless someone stages a last-minute write-in campaign for the two seats, selectmen and the still-serving members of the school committee will have to seek community volunteers and appoint temporary committee members until the next annual election.
Most of the incumbents sitting in key town government positions drew nomination papers early, and returned them well before the Feb. 12 filing deadline.
As of Monday, current Chairman of Selectmen Kevin Gaspar Sr. is unchallenged for another three-year term on the board, and Board of Health member David Davignon is unopposed in his bid for re-election to that three-year seat.
Assessor Matthew Lopes, Commissioner of Trust Funds Ivo Almeida, Planning Commission member Bryan Deschamps, and Cemetery Board member Paul Fortin had no opposition to their filings for re-election.
Early on deadline day, neither of the current library trustees – Jean Stripinis or Diane Ferreira –and Park Commissioner Chad Leclair had returned their nomination papers yet, but they also appear to be unopposed if filing.
Newly-appointed Town Moderator Nicholas Gomes drew his nomination papers seeking the unexpired year of that term in office, and Michael Matton was seeking signatures for a one-year vacancy on the Park Commission. Both posts run to April 6, 2020.
LAST YEAR’S ELECTION
Last year, the election was spiced up by the challenge of political newcomer Roger Cabral, who campaigned hard to beat incumbent Acushnet selectman Garry Rawcliffe. It was one of two contests on the ballot in the 2017 annual town election.
In the only other contest on the ballot in 2017, incumbent Lawrence Mulvey retained his seat on the Acushnet Housing Authority for another five years with a 561-452 win over candidate Robert Lanzoni.
The only other item of interest in the last election was former Town Moderator Robert Francis, not seeking re-election, volunteering as a write-in candidate at the last minute when no one else took out nomination papers for the position.
He tied with current Moderator Nicholas Gomes in the election, but confirmed his retirement plans for good at the next month’s annual town meeting.
There was a 15 percent turnout of voters in 2017, with 1,139 ballots cast. The number of voters is likely to be a little lower than usual this year, due to the lack of any contested positions.