With the makeup of the next City Council no longer a mystery, attention now turns to the race to become Mayor. And as almost always seems to be the case, there is no shortage of maneuvering behind the scenes.
At-Large Councilor Vesna Nuon, who finished third in the voting last night, tells InsideLowell he is once again interested in holding the gavel for the next term.
So far, only District 4 (Downtown) councilor Wayne Jenness has confirmed support for Nuon. Jenness voted for Nuon during the last cycle.
Meanwhile, the odds-on favorite to serve in the post is District 1 (Pawtucketville) Councilor Dan Rourke, who ran unopposed this year. He, too, confirmed efforts to secure the six votes necessary.
As of press time, councilors John Leahy, Paul Ratha Yem and newly elected District 8 (Upper Highlands) councilor John Descoteaux have confirmed they will back Rourke, giving him 4-of-the-6 votes required.
Sources close to the process also confirm Rourke has a commitment from a fifth councilor and is likely to secure the support of others in the coming days, though as we’ve seen before, the ground can sometimes shift during this process.
There were also rumblings that a third camp is trying to muster support for Rita Mercier or another candidate to step into the fray, but to date, Mercier has not said publicly if she’s interested in the position and has yet to respond to our requests for comment.
Multiple councilors told us Erik Gitschier, who topped the ticket with an impressive showing across the city, asked for their support in the aftermath. But Gitschier tells InsideLowell he will not seek the Mayor’s post or the Vice Chair slot he currently holds.
“I have Zach’s last season of what we have enjoyed since he was 5, and I am not going to miss it for anything,” Gitschier said. “I’ve been a Dad who loves seeing how much he enjoys a stupid game we made soo many memories doing.”
Gitschier’s son is playing baseball at Southern New Hampshire University in the upcoming college season, while completing a Doctoral degree.
As for the Vice Chair slot, Yem confirms he is seeking the position. In terms of support for his effort, both Rourke and Leahy confirm they will vote for the District 7 (the Acre) representative.