There is a hotly contested race to fill the unexpired term of State Representative Stephen Smith who resigned on January 1 following a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s office.
According to City Clerk Michael Matarazzo, as of Tuesday night, January 22, a total of eight candidates had returned their nomination papers to the City Clerk’s office to qualify to be on the ballot, including seven Democrats and two Independents.
Assuming all nomination papers are certified by the Secretary of State’s office, a primary election to determine the Democratic candidate will be held on Tuesday, March 5, 2013, with the general election including the Democratic nominee against the two independents on Tuesday, April 2, 2013.
According to Matarazzo at the 5 p.m. deadline, Independent candidate Dennis Giantassio, a former School Committee member, was in the office and was preparing to submit his nomination papers. Thus Giantassio joined Common Councilor Rosa DiFlorio as independents in the race.
Additionally, six Democratic candidates have turned in their papers including former Mayor John Hanlon, Aldermen Michael Mangan and Joseph McGonagle, Common Councilors Sergio Cornelio and Wayne Matewsky and local resident Joseph Santagate Sr.
Independent current School Committee member Joseph LaMonica had pulled nominating papers, but according to Matarazzo, LaMonica told the city clerk on Tuesday that he was not going to file those papers and will not be a candidate for State Representative.
Another Democrat, local firefighter Joseph McLaughlin, had also taken out nomination papers, but had not turned those papers into the City Clerk’s office by the 5 p.m. deadline on Tuesday.
Smith was forced to resign as part of a plea deal for his committing voter fraud in 2009 and 2010. The U.S. Attorney’s office has recommended six months of jail time and 12 months of probation along with a fine of not more than $10,000. for Smith’s actions.