2023 Contested Ward Races

By Chris Wangler
November 1, 2023


Waltham voters head to the polls on Tuesday, November 7 for the 2023 municipal election. Five of Waltham’s nine wards have contested races.

In some of the races, newer candidates are taking on multi-term incumbents.

Two wards will have new city councilors in the new year. In Ward 3, the longtime incumbent decided to run for a different seat, while the Ward 9 councilor is leaving his seat to run for mayor.


Some candidates taped 5-minute statements for the Waltham Channel’s You Don’t Say show [see link below].

The polls are open on Tuesday, November 7 from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. 

Ward 1 

Ward 1 in North Waltham includes Waltham Highlands, Pigeon Hill, Bishop’s Forest and office districts near Prospect Hill and Bear Hill.

First elected in 2019, incumbent councilor Anthony LaFauci has lived in Waltham for more than 30 years. 

A married father of three, he runs a successful family tile installation and retail business. 

“I am running for reelection in Ward 1 because I like working with constituents to solve their issues and also to give back to the city that has been so great to me,” he said.  

LaFauci did not have a challenger in 2021, but faces Lizzie Gelles again this fall. Back in 2019, when both were first-time candidates, LaFauci defeated Gelles by roughly 200 votes. 

Lizzie Gelles was born in New York and has lived in Waltham for more than 25 years. An IT manager, she married her partner of more than 20 years several years ago. 

Gelles did not respond to requests for comment on her candidacy.

Ward 3 

Ward 3 runs along Waltham’s northern border with Lexington, covering neighborhoods around Trapelo Road between Lincoln and Belmont. 

One corner of the ward near Lincoln is grappling with an unpopular proposed solar farm just over the line in Lexington. Multiple lawsuits have been filed.


After 20 years of service, longtime Ward 3 councilor George Darcy decided to run at large this fall, leaving the seat up for grabs.

Bill Hanley, WHS Class of 1992, was the top finisher in September’s Ward 3 preliminary election.

The married father of two works as a healthcare software developer and serves on a number of Waltham boards, including the Waltham Board of Health. He is also a former president of Waltham Little League.

Running for the second time, Hanley nearly won a council seat back in 2019 when he lived in Ward 2.

“Protecting and maintaining our vast and valuable open spaces, maintaining our enviable tax rates and getting ahead of issues that infringe on our homes and way of life are the pillars of my campaign,” he said.

Facing Hanley is Paul Tracey, a longtime Waltham Police officer and fellow second-time candidate.

He made a strong showing against George Darcy in 2019, losing by only 250 votes. 

Tracey has lived in Waltham for his whole life. He is married to a WPD school resource officer and has two children in the Waltham schools.

He said he has an outstanding working knowledge of Ward 3, is committed to the community and wants to stand up to development happening in Lexington right on the Waltham line.

Recently Tracey and other Waltham Police officers received Lifesaving Medals from the Massachusetts Police Association for their response to a November 2022 Brandeis bus crash.

Ward 4 

Ward 4 includes Warrendale, Bentley and the sprawling Fernald property in North Waltham.

First elected in 2013, incumbent councilor John McLaughlin currently serves as the vice president of the city council and chairs the council’s powerful Committee of the Whole.

McLaughlin was reappointed by Governor Maura Healey to the Local Government Advisory Commission earlier this year and he is vice president of the Massachusetts Municipal Association. 

Several years ago, he worked with Waltham’s mayor and federal railroad officials to stop MBTA train horns from sounding at all hours in Waltham residential areas.

A father of three, he and his wife Barbara have been homeowners in Waltham for over 25 years. 

He said his top issues are “preservation of open space, working with the Traffic Commission on traffic improvements, keeping overdevelopment in check, supporting balanced budgets and keeping residential tax rates low.”

His challenger is first-time candidate John Tracy who said, “I’m not a politician. I’m a volunteer and community leader focused on service.”

Originally from a small town, Tracy settled in Waltham after studying at Bentley 25 years ago and now serves as a director on the board of Waltham Fields Community Farm. 

His wife Liz was the first female president of the Waltham Lions Club. Tracy is also a Lion and volunteers with Healthy Waltham and the Waltham Boys & Girls Club. 

“I’m running for the Ward 4 City Council seat to help bring transparency, inclusion and accountability to our local government,” he said.

“Our neighbors need real progress in solving our housing and transit issues. We all need a plan that can address our city’s challenges, embrace its opportunities and make Waltham a place that everyone can call home,” Tracy said.

Ward 7 

This ward includes the Cedarwood neighborhood and areas near Brandeis University and Mount Feake Cemetery. 

For years, neighbors have waited for traffic relief as a large-scale traffic overhaul near 95 and Routes 20 and 117 slowly moves forward. Will it happen in the coming years?


First elected in 2021, incumbent Paul Katz is running for re-election. A marketing and communications professional, the married father of one has lived in Waltham for more than 25 years. 

The talented pianist was involved for many years with the orchestra at Reagle Music Theatre.

Katz said he is “a staunch advocate for my constituents and neighborhoods, advocating for, addressing and facilitating issues including safety, traffic, blight development and quality of life.” 

His challenger, Robert Davis, is a father of three and homeowner who grew up in Ward 7. In 2006, after apprenticing, he started his own business and is now a master electrician.

“I want to bring community back, little kids riding bikes and going to the park,” he said.

Davis expressed worries about some of the neighborhood complaints about university student housing and partying. He opposes renting out single family homes to students who cause problems.

Ward 9 

Mayoral candidate Jonathan Paz is giving up his Ward 9 seat to run for mayor. 

The ward includes neighborhoods east of Moody Street south of Pine Street and areas around Felton and Prospect Streets. 


Long a destination for working-class immigrants, the ward is being gentrified as affluent professionals buy pricey new construction townhouses where older homes and structures once stood.

Paz is supporting first-time candidate Eamon Dawes, an unmarried cybersecurity engineer, renter and bicycle advocate who moved to Waltham in 2016.


“Ward 9 is the heart of the city and should be welcoming to all our neighbors,” Dawes said. 

“I'm running to make it a more affordable place to live and ensure our streets are safe for everyone from children to seniors,” he said. 

Facing him is former Ward 9 city councilor Robert Logan, who was upset by Paz back in 2019. 

Logan’s roots in the ward are deep. A retired administrator for the state’s Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA), he is married and has four adult children.


His many years on the city council and career in government have given him a deep knowledge of local government. 

“I am running to provide responsive and effective representation for the residents of Ward 9, using my knowledge and experience to work on local issues that affect Ward 9 residents and the City of Waltham,” Logan said.

Learn More

Some of the candidates in the contested ward races taped statements for the Waltham Channel’s You Don’t Say show.