Preliminary in Ward 5 Called off with Billy Bell’s Withdrawal

It looks as if last week’s announcement of a Preliminary Election was a bit preliminary.

This week, the Sept. 17th Preliminary Election in Ward 5 is called off just one week after it was called. That came on Monday when candidate Billy Bell, of the Jack Satter House, withdrew from the race.

He was the third candidate in the race and the one candidate who forced a Preliminary Election. Without him in the race, there is not a need for a Preliminary and the Ward 5 election now will take place in November’s City Election.

Bell did not respond to the Journal in time to comment on his withdrawal, but submitted a letter to the Election Commission Monday morning. He had until Aug. 15th to withdraw and the rumors of his withdrawal were rampant every since he became certified for the ballot last Tuesday, July 30th.

Now, only incumbent Ward 5 Councillor John Powers and challenger Al Terminiello Jr. remain in the race.

Powers said this week that he will focus on the November election and welcomed the competition.

“My feeling from the start has always been that everybody has a right to exercise their duties as a candidate,” he said. “I think sometimes it’s good when you have people that take an interest because it brings out more discussion of the issues that affect the area that you might not have without multiple candidates in the race. Mr. Bell obviously has reasons for withdrawing that are his own. Now, we look forward to November. I intend to certainly be out there in every neighborhood of Ward 5 as I have always been.”

Challenger Terminiello said he was disappointed because he had hoped to have a Preliminary Election that would keep interest in the race high throughout the fall.

“It is a little disappointing to me because I thought it would be a stepping stone to keeping people as interested in the race as they are now,” said Terminiello. “I feel for the first time in 14 years Ward 5 has a choice. It’s a very big election for the first time in a long time. I’ve been all over the ward and I’ve been listening to people. Some of the same complaints have gone unaddressed for 10 years. Ward 5 has been neglected.”

Terminiello also said he would miss the fireworks Bell seems to bring to every campaign.

“Billy Bell, however you want to take it, always makes things interesting,” he said. “Interesting is a word I would use without hesitation when Billy Bell is involved in an election.”

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