Sciarra leads pack in campaign donations in Northampton mayor’s race 

  • Gina-Louise Sciarra GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

  • Northampton City Hall GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 7/13/2021 7:19:19 PM

NORTHAMPTON — City Council President Gina-Louise Sciarra is in a dominant financial position over seven other candidates who have either announced their candidacies or taken out nomination papers for mayor in November’s election.

Sciarra has received $20,430 in donations and has $12,016 on hand, according to the latest fundraising report from the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance. To date, none of her opponents have raised a comparable amount, and several have raised nothing. Candidate Shanna Fishel has raised the second highest amount of money, with $10,867 in campaign donations. 

Eight people have requested nomination papers from the city clerk’s office to replace outgoing Mayor David Narkewicz, who announced in January that he would not seek a fourth term. Candidates have until July 30 to submit their nomination papers to the Board of Registrars to be certified for the ballot.

The candidates for a four-year term as mayor are Sciarra; social worker Shanna Fishel; engineer Jared Greenberg; transportation analyst Marc Warner; multicultural organizational developer Rosechana Gordon; and Roy C. Martin, making his 10th run for the office.

Two people who pulled nomination papers — Jodi Shaw and George J. Russell, Jr. — have not announced their candidacies.

Sciarra and Fishel are the only candidates who are thus far certified to appear on the ballot. If more than two candidates are certified, the city will hold a preliminary election Sept. 28 to narrow the field.

Sciarra’s donors are a who’s who of local political figures, including many elected officials in Northampton.

As of June 30, Narkewicz ($500) and City Councilors William Dwight ($500), Karen Foster ($40), John Thorpe ($217), and Marianne LaBarge ($100) have donated to Sciarra’s campaign. Kimm Quinlan, wife of councilor Michael Quinlan, donated $117. Dwight’s son Eli, whose address is in California, gave $500.

Donations to Sciarra also came from Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan, City Clerk Pamela Powers, License Commissioner Natasha Yakovlev, Hampshire County Register of Deeds Mary Olberding and Easthampton City Council President Peg Conniff.

Out of roughly 250 donations, all but eight came from supporters in Massachusetts, primarily Northampton. Out-of-state donations came from supporters in California, Florida, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont.

Fishel has $3,723 on hand after raising $10,876.

Many of Fishel’s supporters work in the mental health and human services fields, and the National Association of Social Workers, based in Boston, made a $250 donation. About 30% of Fishel’s donors describe themselves in the report as “not employed,” while some others are business owners, store managers, entrepreneurs, and self-employed artists.

Out of 95 donations, Fishel has received 38 from supporters in Northampton, including Florence and Leeds. The five largest donations are from Fishel ($2,000), their partner Tony, and supporters in California, Florida and Washington state.

Gordon has $102 on hand. The state office of campaign finance report shows that Gordon is making small deposits and expenditures, but it does not list any donations. Martin has not reported any contributions, and neither have Greenberg or Warner.

Greenberg deposited $50 into a campaign account in April, but has not raised or spent any money since, according to the state report.

An individual can donate up to $1,000 to a candidate in Massachusetts per calendar year.

If a preliminary election is necessary, a drawing of names to determine ballot position will take place on Aug. 19 at 5 p.m. The last day to register to vote in the preliminary election is Sept. 8. The general election is Nov. 2.

Brian Steele can be reached at bsteele@gazettenet.com.


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