WOONSOCKET — The first day candidates could declare their intentions to seek local office in the upcoming city election drew enough interest for mayor to suggest a primary may be needed in October.
Estelle Corriveau, manager of the city Board of Canvassers took declarations of candidacy from Mayor Leo T. Fontaine of 56 Tara Lane, and Michael E. Moniz of 939 Bernon St., within minutes of opening her office at 8:30 a.m. on Monday. And state Rep. Lisa A. Baldelli-Hunt of 304 Prospect St. came in to file her declaration for the mayor’s office just after 10 a.m. to make it a potential three-way contest from the outset.
“If all three candidates stay in the contest we will have a primary for mayor on Oct. 8,” Corriveau said. Moniz has not held local political office but has run in numerous city elections over the years.
Although filing declaration papers Monday, the three candidates for mayor must complete the candidate nomination process to appear on the ballot for a primary or the Nov. 5 city election, according to Corriveau.
Candidates have until 4 p.m. on Aug. 27 to file declarations of candidacy with the Board of Canvassers and the next step in the process will be for the candidates to take out nomination papers beginning Sept. 3 and to return them with the signatures of 100 qualified city voters by 4 p.m. on Sept. 17.
Corriveau also received four declarations for the City Council on Monday with City Councilman Daniel M. Gendron of 67 Arland Court coming into file just after the office opened.
Richard J. Fagnant of 88 Coe St., an member of the city’s Zoning Board of Review, came in next to file for Council followed by School Committeewoman Anita Ann McGuire-Forcier of 95 Marian Lane, and Eric Cartier of 326 Mendon Road, a political newcomer.
The council has six other incumbents who could declare for office-- Council President John F. Ward, Christopher Beauchamp, Roger Jalette, Marc Dubois, Albert G. Brien, and Robert Moreau-- as the declaration period continues and as many as 14 could file before a primary for that office would be necessary.
This year there will be no election of a School Committee since that panel will be appointed by the mayor with concurrence of the City Council under a charter change approved by the voters in the last city election. Voters also agreed to synchronize local elections with the state’s even year election calendar and as a result all candidates elected in November will hold one-time, three-year terms to make the change.
Corriveau believes at least one more candidate might coming to file declarations before that period closes next Tuesday, and added she hopes more candidates are interested in running for City Council.
“I thought there would have been more,” Corriveau said of the slow start for interested candidates in the council’s seven seats.