WESTFIELD – Whether or not the city will see a preliminary election on Sept. 22 hinges entirely on a decision by current Councilor At Large Dave Flaherty.
Flaherty has taken out papers to run for both an at large seat, as well at the Ward 6. While he can only run for one, the deadline to withdraw papers is Aug. 27. If Flaherty withdraws his papers for the at large seat and runs officially for Ward 6, there will be a preliminary election.
As of press time, Flaherty had not made a decision.
The race for mayor comes down to current City Council President Brian Sullivan facing off against Michael Roeder, who ran for the position in 2013 and was defeated Mayor Daniel Knapik by a margin of about 300 votes.
The at large race has 14 candidates, including Flaherty, vying for seven seats. Incumbents Daniel Allie, Matthew Van Heynigen, Brent Bean II and Cindy Harris are all seeking reelection. Knapik will also be in the running for a seat, as he announced late this summer.
Carl Vincent, Muneeb “Moon” Mahmood, Rudolph Musterait, John Beltrandi III, Steve Dondley, Mark Butler Kevin Medeiros and Richard Holocomb make up the rest of the at large candidate pool. Current at large City Councilor James Adams will not be seeking reelection.
Incumbent Christopher Keefe will go up against Mary Ann Babinski for the Ward 1 seat, and incumbent Brian Hoose faces challenger Andrew Kevin Surprise. The Ward 4 race comes down to Council veteran Mary O’Connell and newcomer Katherine Bentrewicz.
If Flaherty remains in the Ward 6 seat, he will be running against Cheryl Crowe and William Onyski.
Ward 2 and Ward 5 incumbents Ralph Figy and Robert Paul are both running unopposed.
The current members of the Westfield Gas and Electric Municipal Light Board are running unopposed to maintain their seats. Kevin Kelleher of Ward 1, Ray Rivera of Ward 2, Jane Wensley of Ward 3, Francis Liptak of Ward 4, Thomas Flaherty of Ward 5 and Robert Sacco of Ward 6 are seeking reelection.
Incumbents Diane Mayhew, Kevin Sullivan and Ramon Diaz Jr. are seeking a return to three available seats for School Committee, and Patricia Steele-Perkins and Frederick Harling are running for Athenaeum Trustee. Harling currently holds the seat.