Updated: With Allison Sharma running an official write-in campaign for the now open Ward 4 ward councilor seat, women could end up with three to six of the eight ward councilor seats (up from a high of five). Allison’s candidacy has no impact on the at-large races, where the range remains five to nine women. For the whole council, the range is eight to fifteen women (up from a high of fourteen). Women would have to win all mixed-gender contested races, including three with incumbent men, to get to the high end of the range. Men would have to win all mixed-gender contested races, including one with an incumbent woman, to get to the low end of the range.

There are nine women on the current council 24-member council: five ward councilors, four at-large.

One thing that jumps out from the (so-far unofficial*) list of candidates for Newton elected offices: Newton is poised at the precipice of a city council with women in the majority. And, that’s despite two sure-bet (had they run again) incumbent women leaving the Council to run for mayor (v. one sure-bet incumbent man). Let’s do the numbers!

The Council currently has four women ward councilors. As of this posting*, there are three unopposed women (2, 3, 8) and women running against men for two contested seats (1, 6). Ward 1 is an open seat. In 6, the man is the incumbent (Dick Blazar). With two men running unopposed (5, 7) and no women in the contested race for 4, women could end up with three to five ward councilor seats. 

Despite Amy Sangiolo and Ruthanne Fuller giving up their seats to run for mayor, there will be at least as many women at-large councilors on the next Council as there are on the current: five. Two women are guaranteed seats, because there are only two candidates running in those wards (6, 7). In addition to the two men in 6 and 7 guaranteed seats, there are four more men guaranteed seats because two men are running in each of two wards (4, 8).

For the remaining eight seats, women are guaranteed three in races where there is only one man running (1, 3, 5). Because there are more than two women running in all three, women could pick up both seats. Men are incumbents in 3 and 5. There is only one contested at-large race (more than two candidates) where both seats could go to men (2). The lone woman running in 2 is long-time incumbent and frequent highest-vote getter (across the city) Susan Albright.

Bottom line for at-large seats: at least five women and as many as nine. So, the range for the next City Council is eight to fourteen fifteen women (v. 9 currently). Women would have to unseat three incumbent men to get to the high end of the range. Men would have to unseat one incumbent woman to get to the low end of the range.

For School Committee, there are four uncontested races: three women and one man. One contested race is between two women. The remaining three races have a single woman and a single man running. That makes the range for women four to seven. In the contested races, there is one race with an incumbent (2): Margaret Albright. The School Committee currently has six women.

*This analysis is based on the candidate list on the city web site as of posting. While the deadline for nominating papers has passed, more candidates may be certified.

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