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INSIDE INFORMATION: Malden Municipal Election set for this fall and ‘The Race Is On!’; Just who the ‘racers’ might be is unclear

2023 election
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Mayor Christenson is seeking a fourth term but few announced for City Council, School Committee yet

  Mayor Christenson is running again; we know that for sure. He announced his intentions last May at a campaign event. As of this week the same cannot be said for certain for most of the 11 City Council posts and nearly all of the eight School Committee seats.

  Malden Advocate columnist Peter Levine basically made Ward 2 Councillor Paul Condon’s announcement for him, writing in his “Malden Musings” installment last week that one of the longest-serving solons in city lore would run again in 2023.

  Malden first-term Councillor-at-Large Karen Colón Hayes has already announced her intention to run for reelection at a campaign event at Pearl Street Station on February 9, and second-term Ward 3 Councillor Amanda Linehan has also advertised a similar event for this coming Monday, where she is expected to do the same. Linehan, as Colón Hayes did earlier this month, advertised her event here in the Malden Advocate, for Monday, February 27 at Pearl Street Station, 53 Summer St. It is a 6:00 p.m. event that is listed as family friendly.

  The only challenger candidate announced for City Council so far this municipal election year is lifelong Malden resident Sheila Rachels, who said in an online report in January that she intends to run for Ward 2 Councillor and that she had filed paperwork in the Malden City Clerk’s Office to organize a campaign committee. At the time, Councillor Condon had not announced if he would seek reelection (and still has not, aside from the boost from the estimable scribe Levine). If the cards fall as expected, Councillor Condon will be squaring off with at least one challenger this fall.

  Our speculation, as we can spy the caboose on the month of February pulling up to the gate early next week? In addition to Colón Hayes, Condon and Linehan, the Advocate formally forecasts that all of the incumbents on the City Council eventually announce they will seek reelection to their posts for another two-year term. If this year’s municipal political fray resembles anything close to the last one in 2021, where six Ward Councillors were challenged and there was a wide-open race for Councillor-at-Large with a rare two open seats, we could be in for quite an election year.

  On the School Committee side, only Ward 6 representative Joseph Gray has come out and said he would seek reelection, for what would be his third term. We will once again forecast that all eight of the ward incumbents will seek another term on School Committee.

  As for challengers? We have heard of none as of this week.

  We also expect this will all become clear sooner rather than later, so as to get a head start on campaign season. Everyone’s personal calendar gets fuller and fuller each year, and those filing dates jump out at candidates like speed bumps on the road.

  The Advocate intends to check in with each of the incumbents on both municipal governing bodies and see where they stand as for the 2023 election and will inform our readers of the same. Stay tuned.


Mayor Christenson is now running unopposed; will it stay that way the rest of the campaign?

  Malden Mayor Gary Christenson announced at an October campaign event he will be seeking a fourth four-year term in this upcoming fall’s municipal election. If reelected, it is believed Mayor Christenson would equal his predecessor, Richard Howard (1996-2012) as the longest-serving Mayor in Malden’s history, in completing 16 years as the city’s CEO in 2027. First elected in 2011, he would also be the first Mayor elected to four consecutive four-year terms and the third to be elected to four consecutive mayoral terms of any length, since Howard in the 1990s up to 2012 and former Mayor Walter Kelliher in the 1960s into the 1970s.

  So, after being challenged in the open seat election of 2011 and defeating former fellow City Councillor Kathryn Fallon, running unopposed in 2015 and defeating former Councillor John Matheson in 2019, is the same pattern arising here? Will Mayor Christenson be running unopposed this fall? As February draws to a close, it might appear that way, as no challengers have spoken up and there is little talk around the city of any imminent mayoral campaigns other than the incumbents.

  There were rumors back in 2021, both during that year’s municipal election and for some time after the results and swearing-in ceremony, that at least one – and perhaps two – Malden City Councillors were eyeing potential mayoral runs in this 2023 election. Not much of that talk has panned out, however, as neither of those rumored Councillors have given any hint of mounting such a challenge this time around.

  In other nearby communities, challenges to incumbent mayors or runs for open mayoral seats have also come from seated state legislators at times. The only Malden resident among the three state representatives and state senator who represent us at the State House is longtime Rep. Steve Ultrino.

  Who introduced Mayor Christenson at his packed house reelection announcement event in May 2022 at Mixx360 Nightlife on Broadway? Yes, it was Rep. Ultrino. Enough said.

  Another Advocate forecast: Mayor Christenson will run unopposed this fall and be reelected to a historic fourth four-year term.


While many restaurants still struggling as COVID risks decline, several new ones still willing for a fresh beginning in Malden

  A few restaurants and other establishments serving food, drink or both in Malden – mostly situated in or around Malden Square – are at least doing a lot better in the “lesser” COVID times of today. But many are still struggling, as a litany of issues threaten and constrict their revenue streams.

  Most notable are the very real supply chain woes, with holes popping unexpectedly and often, either sending acquisition prices skyrocketing, limiting supply choices severely at times, or both. Another factor is personnel-related, as restaurant and eatery owners and operators in Malden and statewide are faced with chronic shortages of workers in every aspect of the businesses, from cooks to waitresses and bartenders, to dishwashers. The rising minimum wage – one of the highest in the nation in Massachusetts at $15.00 per hour, $6.75 for tipped servers – also directly jacks up fixed costs at restaurants as they struggle to increase their profits.

  That is why as it is encouraging to see busy and often very close to capacity restaurants in the downtown Malden Square environs on at least Wednesday through Saturday nights – not a parking space to be had – on one hand and on the other, new establishments opening in Malden.

  Bam Bam Chicken opened on January 8 at 2 Florence St., one of the most visible street corners in Malden, corner of Florence and Pleasant Streets, across the street from Malden Center MBTA Orange Line Station and Malden Center apartments.

  The new restaurant, which is owned by District Kitchen (located next door) owner Stacey Zhang, specializes in fried chicken, pulled pork sandwiches, fish, chicken and waffles, crazy fries with toppings and sauces, frozen yogurt smoothies and ice cream. Order ahead for pickup or delivery through your favorite food delivery app. For more information, please visit www.bambamchicken.com.

  Another opening in Malden Square, on the other side at 290 Main St., in another highly visible location at the corner of Charles and Main Streets, was on February 1 for Atlantic Seafood Restaurant. This new resident replaces the former Sichuan Taste at that site for about the last five years. The new Atlantic Seafood Restaurant serves Chinese American seafood and other dishes for dine-in, takeout or delivery. Call 781-480-3671 for more information.

amanda linehan
Ward 3 Councillor Amanda Linehan is expected to announce she intends to run for reelection to another term at a campaign event advertised for Monday night at 6:00 at Pearl Street Station restaurant on Summer Street.
Councillor-at-Large Karen Colón Hayes announced earlier this month she would seek reelection to a second term.
christenson for mayor
CHRISTENSON for MAYOR: Malden Mayor Gary Christenson announced he would seek reelection this year at a May 2022 campaign event at MIXX350 Nightlife in Malden. (Advocate Photo)

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