After a seven-year interregnum, Ward 2 City Councilor Michael Fenton is poised to resume the role of Council President in 2024. Fenton, who joined the Council in 2010, served three one-year terms from 2014 to 2016.
SPRINGFIELD—After an undernoted campaign that turned caustic and accusatory in its dying days, Mayor Domenic Sarno triumphed over at-large City Councilor Justin Hurst by a 15-point margin. This was a race many had foresaw ever since Hurst, whom Sarno once endorsed, began to tilt away from the city’s longest-serving mayor. But the challenge came later than some wanted and thus without backing he would need to win.
Fortune put the date of the 2023 election on the second-latest possible date. That allowed time for one more round of campaign finance reports in the Springfield mayoral race. In October Mayor Domenic Sarno outraised his rival, at-large Councilor Justin Hurst, reversing a lag from the prior months.
The allegations of vote-buying occurring right outside Springfield City Hall have dropped a hand grenade into a historic but quiet municipal election. It has set off a wave of condemnation, conspiracies and snickering across Springfield and within its political class.
With his mayoral campaign in mortal danger, Springfield at-large Councilor Justin Hurst held a defiant press conference Thursday morning, vigorously denying his campaign engaged in vote-buying. The allegations, which are reportedly now before federal and state investigators, arose after early-voters swamped Election Commission staff Saturday.
As the Springfield 2023 cycle meanders to conclusion, only a few candidates appear to be dominating the air war. Several at-large City Council candidates, including several who advertised during the preliminary, have also bought ad time. In the mayor’s race, however, the incumbent, Domenic Sarno, largely has the air to himself as October concludes.
In what could be their only general election outing, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno jousted with at-large City Councilor Justin Hurst in a debate WWLP aired Monday. The faceoff featured a range of issues from crime to the equitable distribution of resources.
Was the defining issue at the October 16 meeting of the Springfield City Council for naught? It certainly seems possible. The debate collapsed into confusion and hand-wringing until its lead sponsor, Council President Jesse Lederman untied all the knots.
As the Springfield mayoral race lumbered into October, the campaign cash dash was barely at a trot. Piles of money and late heat in the campaign propelled at-large Councilor Justin Hurst and Mayor Domenic Sarno past the September 12 preliminary. Yet, neither showed a surge of activity many had expected ahead of the final confrontation on November 7.
Four years ago, Baker and Polito’s orbits had telegraphed a preference for mayor. Not so much in 2023. Rather, the commonwealth’s onetime executive duo endorsed their former Western Mass aide and now-Council candidate, Jose Delgado.