Nomination papers won't be available for another six weeks yet, but there are already four candidates who have emerged for this fall's city election, and only two of them are incumbents.
Additionally, longtime Ward 5 City Councilor Dave Gamache says he will not seek re-election this year, leaving that seat wide open.
Gamache is finishing up 24 years on the council and says he will make an announcement at Thursday's regular meeting (7:30 p.m.).
Mayor Ted Bettencourt announced earlier this month that he will seek a second term in the corner office.
The news was not a suprise from Bettencourt, who indicated in 2011 that he hoped to be mayor for a while yet.
Councilor-at-Large Anne Manning-Martin also says she plans to keep her seat and confirmed with Peabody Patch on Tuesday that despite rampant speculation, she will not be entering the special election for State Representative.
Frasca and Croce gearing up for council races
Local entrepreneur Scott Frasca, who founded the charity Making a Difference in Peabody 10 years ago, plans to jump into the fray on the City Council, although he hasn't made a formal announcement yet.
Frasca, a Peabody native, formerly chaired the Republican City Committee and is a former Library Trustee. He is also a board member of the Peabody Area Chamber of Commerce.
Frasca had told Peabody Patch he was contemplating running for an at-large seat and then back in December confirmed with Bob Croce, author of the Eye on Peabody blog, that he did plan to run for office.
"Local entrepreneur Scott Frasca told me today that he will be running for Councilor At-Large next fall. He says he hasn’t made his official announcement yet, but that he’s definitely in to win," Croce wrote.
And Croce himself, another Peabody native, now has also informally announced he is running again for Ward 5 -- he challenged Gamache back in 1999.
Croce revamped his campaign Facebook page and posted an update Tuesday, saying he has decided to run.
"My message during the campaign will be clear: it will be my goal to be responsive, and to advocate for the residents of Ward 5 on issues that affect their quality of life. No issue will be too small for my attention when a taxpayer calls me," he wrote.
This will be Croce's fourth bid for office -- he challenged Gamache in 1999, ran for School Committee in 2001 and sought an at-large council seat in 2011, all unsuccessful campaigns.
Croce is the Product Director at Wellesley Information Services in Dedham and co-hosts the political talk show "You Make the Call" on local cable access TV. He was also appointed by Bettencourt to serve on the mayor's Economic Development Advisory Committee.
Dates and details for candidates
Nomination papers will be available from the City Clerk's office, as of March 11. Candidates will have until July 26 to pull papers and then return nominations with 50 good signatures by July 30.
If necessary, a city primary will be held Sept. 17 and the general election will be Nov. 5.
Depending on how the special election that's underway shakes out, there may be an opening on the City Council or School Committee in the fall.
Councilor-at-Large Dave Gravel and School Committeewoman Beverley Griffin Dunne are among the five candidates in the special election. If neither of them end up on Beacon Hill, they will likely both run to keep their current seats.
All 11 councilors are up for re-election, along with the mayor, Dunne and School Committee members Tom Rossignoll and Jarrod Hochman.