A Trip Down Memory Lane: Lowell Mayoral Chatter Nothing New!

The chatter surrounding the possibilities in the Lowell Mayoral race that arose the very night of the election led some to lament such early talk about the job. When Kevin Broderick fairly quickly took a pass – newly re-elected Councilor Patrick Murphy threw his hat into the ring and promptly garnered newly-elected councilor Marty Lorrey’s support and soon after that of another newby councilor – Vesna Nuon. It was no secret that if Councilor Rodney Elliott were re-elected he would be in the hunt for the Mayoral seat. Guess what? Quick speculation about who’d be running for the perceived “ceremonial” position of Mayor isn’t anything new. Her’s a line from the Lowell SUN of November 7, 1973 – the day after the city election:

LOWELL: “The result of yesterday’s elections hasn’t even been declared officially, but already there is speculation circulating over who will-be Lowell’s next Mayor.” Most observers watching the returns trickle in felt that City Councilor Leo J. Farley, elected to his third term, had the best chance to be elected.”

Farley finished a disappointing seventh. Most political followers had expected him to run in the top four.

But apparently the tide of pro-City Manager James Sullivan votes weakened his position’considerably.

Farley, if he wants the Mayor’s” job, can likely bank on the support of Councilor Charles A. Gallagher and Councilor-elect Victor M. Forsley.

FARLEY’S CHIEF opponent for the Mayor’s job will likely be Councilor Armand W. LeMay, who is also supposedly interested in the post. Councilor Robert B. Kennedy, who has served as vice Chairman for the past two years, may also be interested in the mayor’s job.

With that potential slate, councilors-elect John Slavin, Brian Delaney and Robert C. Maguire will have to determine who is going to be Mayor.

Councilor Richard P. Howe will likely also be torn on who to vote for in the contest. He got his fifth vote for Mayor when he sought-the job four years ago from Farley and at that time beat out LeMay. Since then, however, he has become closely aligned with LeMay.

Any contest for mayor this time, however, will be hard-put to equal the tortuous process of two years,ago, when the council went through more than  ballots before selecting Ellen Sampson as mayor.

LeMay’s chances for the mayorship may be strengthened by the fact that many see the vote as pro-Suliivan and LeMay has been a consistent supporter of the manager.

In addition, LeMay topped the balloting. There is a tradition, often broken however; of favoring the first-place finisher for mayor.

There is no by-line attached to this Lowell Sun  story.

What happened?

According to Dick Howe’s election records: Armand LeMay was elected mayor on the first ballot – defeating Leo Farley with a vote of 5 to 4.  Lowell Sun headline was “Voters Oust Mayor; elect 4 new councilors”  The article began “In one of the most stunning upsets in recent Lowell history, Mayor Ellen Sampson was defeated for re-election to the city council, finishing a dismal 12th with only 10,031 votes.”  (Sampson had topped the ticket in the prior election).

Leo Farley did, however, become Mayor of the City of Lowell in January of 1976 on  the third ballot, edging out Richard Howe who had four votes on all three ballots.

The ways of the Lowell mayoral election can be strange but interesting. Looking forward to the finish line in the 2012 run for Mayor of Lowell.

 Get more Lowell City election history here: https://www.richardhowe.com/election/