How the Race Was Won or Go West Young Man

The Methuen Mayoral primary results are in, with Al Dinuccio topping the ticket, and Steve Zanni finishing second. Both Ken Willette and Jack Cronin finished some distance back, in third and fourth place respectively. So what happened, and what is likely to happen in November? A number of things jump right out at you, and while the numbers need to be looked at in more detail they already tell the story. But before we get to numbers lets look at some other factors.

One of the hard truths that comes out of this campaign is that running for Mayor is not like running for School Committee or City Council. And that truth was most evident in the campaigns of Jack Cronin and Ken Willette. In order to be successful in a Mayor’s race you must raise some money, and have a message that can be put forth with adequate campaign resources. If you are going to try to run a “live off the land” campaign then you had better be ready to have a group of enthusiastic volunteers and plenty of shoe leather to get around the City. Both of those candidates worked hard, and have done wonderful things for the community. But the campaigns were more reflective of lower office campaigns, and just could not reach critical mass with the resources they had available.

So, based on that then you would expect the candidate with the most money to win? Well, not necessarily. The Dinuccio campaign had more resources than Willette or Cronin, but certainly less than Zanni. But the enthusiasm in the campaign came from Dinuccio, who has a committed group of volunteers who more than made up for the difference in resources. They were out early and often, and drove a singular message that resonated in the primary. The anti-tax anti-union message carried, and was relentlessly driven by the campaign. Help from established politicians, including City Councilors Jeanne Pappalardo and Patricia Uliano, certainly helped in key areas, although the campaign eschewed political endorsements. The Dinuccio folks ran a very good campaign, and the results are reflective of that.

Steve Zanni ran a more traditional campaign, with three separate mailers, and significantly more resources. And for a while it looked like Zanni might squeek through. After I had compiled 8 precincts, (4 in the East, and four in the Central) Zanni had a slight lead. And that was heading into Zanni’s home district, the West. (Also the home District of Dinuccio). It was set up for a battle of strength vs strength, with both Dinuccio and Zanni, in previous elections, showing their greatest strength in Precincts 8 and 11 in the West. Those two precincts told the story of the night, with Dinuccio winning both handily. The margins in 8 and 11 allowed Dinuccio to overcome the Zanni lead built in the Central. Winning the West, and winning big in the home precinct of Steve Zanni, were the keys to victory for Al Dinuccio. The Zanni forces will regroup, and hope that higher voter turnout in the general election in November will lead them to victory. But mark round one for Dinuccio.

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11 Responses to How the Race Was Won or Go West Young Man

  1. Jim says:

    Man!! With expert analysis and summary like that, you’ll be writing for the Valley Patriot in no time!


  2. Jules Gordon says:

    Your Honor,

    I arrived at the polling place ready to cast my vote for the next mayor of Methuen.

    I found the 3rd precinct tables in their usual places. However, when I saw the sign-in table precinct sign I was flabbergasted. While all the other precinct signs were professionally done, my precinct sign was depicted with the number three written in a CRAYON. I registered my embarrassment with the sign-in crew, took my voting ballot and with averted eyes slunk over to the booth and voted. (I swear, your honor, those nice ladies at the table were smiling.)

    I now turned to the check out table and to my amazement, the precinct 3 sign on that table was even worse. Someone has taken pre-glued, red, punch out letters from a template strip and applied them to some poster board. It looked like it was done by a kindergarten student. I checked out and put my voter ballot in the shred…er vote count machine.

    Oh, by the way, I did cast my vote for one of the two winners.

    All told a bad day.



  3. Matt K says:

    Nicely put. I’ll look for you tomorrow on “Morning Joe.” ๐Ÿ™‚


  4. Bill Manzi says:

    I like the Morning Joe comment better than the Valley Patriot one. ๐Ÿ™‚


  5. Bill Manzi says:


    Don’t understand why the crayon was used, but will ask.



  6. Jim says:

    @Mayor: because maybe they ran out of finger paints? ๐Ÿ™‚


  7. Jules Gordon says:

    Your Honor,

    I did a little tongue-in-cheek there.



  8. Al had supporters from methuen,unlike Steve Zanni. Most of his supporters who were out holding signs came from dracut. He didn’t have woman helping him, which sends the message that he is above woman and woman should be under him. That’s a known fact here in methuen.

    It also didn’t help steve when he denied any involement with the flies that was being passed out by mike condom, who is running to give condoms for all of methuen.

    In nov the election will be won by the person who will do the right thing for the people of methuen, and not the right thing for the politicans they owe favorite too.


  9. David says:

    Do you have the precinct level results?


  10. David says:


    I’m sorry, but your comments about Steve Zanni are completely ridiculous. Zanni has the support of Sharon Pollard, who is a woman. To suggest that he believes that women are below men and that he does not have any support from women suggests that you are inadequately informed about this campaign and the character of the candidates.

    In addition, Mike Condon (with an “N” at the end, not an “M”) is a great guy. He hasn’t tried to give a condom to me, which further suggests that your information is highly flawed.

    With all due respect, please stop trying to push this campaign into the gutter. The people of Methuen are really sick of it.


  11. Hector Montalvo says:

    David, no need to be sorry. I pointed out that
    I didn’t see any woman holding sign for zanni.
    Every person I spoke to were from dracut.

    You are correct, it has been stated that Sharon
    is supporting him. I just found it odd.

    I saw some signs around, that have condom
    for methuen. I laugh and said, I feel bad growing
    up with a last name like that. Thanks for letting
    me know it’s Condon.

    Which people of methuen are tried and tried
    of what? The people of methuen already know
    I’m an asshole. I have never denied that, nor
    will I ever. I ask the questions that people
    in government don”t like to answer.

    For the record, I like both candidates,


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