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Candidates Line Up In Claremont Races

Claremont — Two years ago, there was only one contested race in the City Council elections and that was for the mayor’s position.

This year, a lot more people in Claremont want on the nine-member council.

There are 11 candidates for the four at-large seats and three for the Ward 3 seat held by Nick Koloski, whose race for re-election is being challanged by Brent Ferland and Walter White.

Mayor Jim Neilsen, Assistant Mayor Victor Bergeron, newly appointed Ward I councilor Carolyn Towle and newcomer Charlene Lovett, Ward II, are running uncontested. Lovett is a former School Board member and Republican state representative. Ward II incumbent Roger Formidoni did not seek re-election.

At-large incumbents Kyle Messier, Keith Raymond and recently appointed John Simonds will look to retain their seats against eight challengers, including Thomas Burnham. Burnham abruptly resigned from the council in July a day after the council held a nonpublic meeting. Burnham has not explained the reason for his sudden departure, and the minutes from the meeting have been sealed by the council.

The fourth at-large councilor, Chris Irish, resigned recently because a family member applied for a job for the city. When that occurs, the city charter requires the councilor to step down.

Also seeking one of the at-large seats is John Kinton, who had a restraining order placed against him by the court on Sept. 11 after a female relative went to police and complained about threats Kinton made toward her and her baby in her home.

“John has threatened us, scared us, and made us fearful for our safety,” the woman wrote in statements to police. The restraining order remains in effect for at least a year. Kinton had applied for one of the seats to replace Burnham and Andy Austin, who also resigned, but withdrew his name before the council selected Towle and Simonds in August.

Gary Cloutier, Cynthia Densmore, John Hamel, Reginald Johnson, James Reed Jr., and Joel Tremblay are the other candidates for the at-large seats.

Hamel and Tremblay were among the candidates who applied for the vacancies created when Burnham and Austin, who moved out of Claremont, resigned.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at ogrady56@yahoo.com.