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Today's Manchester primary election is chance to narrow the field

MANCHESTER — City residents head to the polls today for the primary election, which will narrow down the field in nine races, including the one for mayor of the state’s largest city.

City primaries have historically had low turnout, although this election will be closely watched after the 2011 primary hit an all-time low, with only 4,868 of the city’s 52,483 registered voters — 8 percent — casting ballots. This primary may generate more interest than 2011 because there is city-wide race for mayor, and the two leading candidates, Alderman Patrick Arnold and incumbent Mayor Ted Gatsas, have engaged in a heated campaign. The third candidate is community activist Glenn RJ. Ouellette.

The polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. See page B1 for a list of poll locations. The will have breaking results.

The primary today also features more races than 2011, when there were six contested alderman and school board seats. This year, there are 26 candidates competing in nine races.

In Ward 2, voters will choose among incumbent Alderman Ron Ludwig and challengers Win Hutchinson and Jeffrey Sullivan. They’ll also vote among three school board candidates: incumbent Debra Gagnon Langton, Sarah Browning and Carol-Ann Giovanni.

Three school board candidates are squaring off in Ward 6: Dan Bergeron, the current school board representative, Robyn Dunphy and Bill Hughen.

The race with the most candidates is in Ward 9. Incumbent Alderman Barbara Shaw is being challenged by Timothy Sawyer, Russell Spaulding and Victoria Sullivan.Voters in Ward 12 will also choose among alderman and school board candidates. Christine Duffley, Joel Elber and Constance “Connie” VanHouten are vying for the school board seat, which was given up by Roger Beauchamp so he could run for alderman. He’s being challenged in that race by political veterans Keith Hirschmann and Dick Marston.

The Ward 10 alderman race may be especially competitive. Two-term incumbent Phil Greazzo is being challenged by Bill Barry, a former police officer who ran for Hillsborough County sheriff in 2012, and Jane Beaulieu, the Democratic state representative who lost to Greazzo in 2011 by 40 votes.

Coinciding with the city primary, voters in Ward 7 will choose the District 14 state representative. Republican Ross Terrio, the former office holder until 2012, faces Democrat Mary Heath, who is the former deputy state education.

There are no classes today at city schools, several of which will serve as polling stations.

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