They’re Off: Incumbents Dash To Secure Nomination Papers For Town-Wide Offices

Photo: Mike Widmer would be seeking his 13th term as Town Moderator.

The 2020 Belmont Town Election is still 98 days away on April 7, 2020 but it appears this edition will be few if any open seats among the 11 town-wide positions up for grabs when Belmont voters go to the polls.

Incumbents in eight of the 11 possible races have quickly snagged nomination papers from the Town Clerk’s Office in preparation for re-election campaigns.

The current office holders who have taken the first steps for a return to town government are:

  • Town Moderator (1 year): Michael Widmer
  • Town Treasurer (3 years) : Floyd Carman
  • School Committee (Two 3-year terms): Catherine Bowen, Michael Crowley
  • Board of Assessors (3 years): Robert P. Reardon
  • Beard of Health (3 year term): Donna David
  • Board of Library Trustees (Two 3 year terms): Kathleen Keohane, Gail Mann

Of those who have yet to take out papers, the most notable absentee is the Select Board’s Adam Dash, who was first elected in 2017 winning 63 percent of the vote.

But speaking to the Belmontonian in the past week, Dash gave every indication of seeking a second term to the Board, saying he would “decide” on a possible run shortly after the holidays “when people are thinking about the election.”

Only Alexander E. Corbett III of the Cemetery Commission and Donna Brescia, the chair of the Housing Authority, are incumbents who have yet to obtain papers.

It remains to be seen if the lack of “open” seats will deter newcomers from seeking to throw “their hats into the ring.” Incumbents have built-in advantages when they run: name recognition, for many three years of accomplishments, and past supporters they can return to. As Guy Molyneux puts it in The American Prospect, “elections are fundamentally a referendum on the incumbent.”

“Only if [the electorate] decide to ‘fire’ the incumbent do they begin to evaluate whether each of the challengers is an acceptable alternative.”

For those who are determined to run for town-wide office, stop by the Town Clerk’s office at Town Hall to pick up nomination papers; then submit the signed forms to the Clerk’s by the deadline, Feb. 18, 2020, at 5 p.m.  

The Town Clerk’s web pages contain quite a bit of information to help make a decision to seek office at then select Elections: Running for Elected Office and Town Meeting; feel free to call us at 617-993-2600, or email at

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